Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. Most of the time, testing is used to find changes that are associated with inherited disorders. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. Several hundred genetic tests are currently in use, and more are being developed.
Genetic testing is voluntary. Because testing has both benefits and limitations, the decision about whether to be tested is a personal and complex one. A genetic counselor can help by providing information about the pros and cons of the test and discussing the social and emotional aspects of testing.