Genetic disorders are caused due to abnormal distribution of chromosomes in offsprings and can only be detected using special tests. Unequal distribution of chromosomes causes change in the genome and the offspring might show different characteristics and may not be able to lead a normal life.
Though genetic disorders are rare, it does affect some part of the population and people are aware so these days, everyone gets their unborn child tested.
Testing at the embryonic stage can help determine if the child has any genetic disorder and if by any chance, he happens to have one, the treatment can be started at early stage (if possible) or parents may decide to terminate the pregnancy. However, aim of techniques involved in testing for genetic disorders in embryos isn’t to cure anything in embryonic stage.
Types of tests for genetic disorders
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis- As the name suggests, this test helps in knowing if the embryo will grow up to be a normal individual. This test is conducted only when the doctor suspects the possibility and the embryo may have risk of acquiring a genetic disorder.
Preimplantation genetic screening- This test has the same procedure and conducted with same intention, but for women who want to have their embryo tested, not necessarily because they are at risk of having some genetic disorder.
These tests can only be performed in embryonic stage and is done through IVF
There are many arguments raised against genetic testing for embryos. Many think that it is a risk while others think that it is a very smart thing to do in the initial stage of pregnancy.
This test is mostly recommended for people who have had a member in their family that acquired a genetic disorder. It is also possible that some people might be starting their family late and that increases the chance of acquiring a genetic disorder. A test maybe recommended in that case as well.
This test is not known to have any effect on decreasing the rate of diseases that might occur as the genetic makeup of the individual helps in determining that. Also, there is no technology which has been able to cure any genetic abnormality at embryonic stage, It’s sole purpose is to put presence of one in the parent’s knowledge.
There is no list of criterias that should be met before going for the test, if you or your doctor suspects having a genetic disorder in your unborn, you should definitely make sure of it by going for a genetic test.