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All of our genes come in pairs. We get a copy from each parent. Genes help control everything from our eye colour to whether we get certain conditions. Genes that don't work right or that are missing can cause genetic conditions. These include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease.
Some genetic conditions are more common in certain ethnic groups. A screening blood test can find out if you are a carrier of one of these conditions. You can be a carrier and not have symptoms. Instead, you "carry" one copy of a gene that is not working well. If someone in your family has one of these conditions, you may be a carrier. But many people who are carriers have no family history. If both members of a couple are carriers, they have a 1-in-4 chance of having a child born with the condition. So that means that there is a 3-in-4 chance that their child won't have the condition.
To have certain genetic conditions, a baby must get a copy of the changed gene from each parent. The results of genetic screening can help you make choices about having children. If you test positive, your partner should be tested too.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
You can be tested to see if you or your partner might pass down gene changes to your child. You may be tested for:
Certain genetic conditions are more common in certain ethnic groups. People who are Caucasian or of African, Ashkenazi Jewish, Southeast Asian, French-Canadian, or Mediterranean background may want to think about genetic testing to find out if they have or are a carrier of a genetic condition that they could pass on to their child. Certain genetic conditions are more common in these ethnic groups. Some close-knit religious communities also have higher rates of certain genetic conditions. This includes the Amish, Hutterite, and Mennonite communities.
People with a family history of one of these conditions also may want to think about testing. Speak with your doctor about whether this type of testing is available in your area. AHS does not offer ethnicity-based genetic screening for Caucasians, French-Canadians or to religious communities.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter Q084 in the search box to learn more about "Ethnicity-Based Genetic Screening: Care Instructions".
Adaptation Date: 5/19/2020
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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