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Genetic Tests and Counseling

Your family history and your family background will determine which tests might be recommended. For instance, African-Americans should be tested for sickle cell anemia. Individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at increased risk of several genetic disorders, including Tay-Sachs, Canavan, Gaucher, and familial dysautonomia. People of Southeast Asian and Mediterranean ancestry should be screened for alpha and beta thalassemias. And all couples should consider testing for cystic fibrosis. A genetic test will determine if one or both parents carry the specific genetic mutation, and what the risk is of passing that mutation on to a child. Often, potential parents will not have symptoms themselves, but if both partners are carriers, children can be affected. Schedule a consultation with a genetic counselor or doctor who can advise you about evaluating individual risks and deciding on the best course of action.

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