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Will My Genetic Test Results Have Implications for Family Members?

Yes, especially if the results show that you have a genetic diagnosis. Your results might reveal that your parents, siblings, and children have a risk for the same condition. Other relatives could have a risk as well.

Genetic conditions are classified in different ways, including dominant, recessive, and X-linked. If your test results show that you have a dominant condition, then you probably inherited it from one of your parents. In that case, your siblings, and your children each have a 50% risk of having the same condition.

If your test results show that you have a recessive condition, both of your parents are probably carriers but not affected. Then, your siblings might have the same condition or might be carriers. People with a recessive condition can often have children that are not affected.

If your test results show that you have an X-linked condition, then the risks to family members depend on their sex. Males have a higher risk of being affected, and females might be unaffected carriers.

Besides revealing risks for other family members, genetic test results might cause emotional reactions or change the way that people relate to each other. Family members might be grateful for the test results and feel relieved to better understand your condition and their own risk. Other times, they might be upset about the results and what they show.

If you are worried about the impact of genetic testing on your family or are having trouble discussing genetic testing results with your family members, a genetic counselor can help.

 

 

Written by Abigail Freeman, MS CGC

Edited by Celeste Suart, PhD

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