Skip to Main Content

Year 10 Science: Genetic Testing: Implications for Pregnancy

Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing

"While the test may detect a particular problem gene, it cannot predict how severely the person carrying that gene will be affected."


Genetic defects and human development

With the increasing ability to control infectious and nutritional diseases in developed countries, there has come the realization that genetic diseases are a major cause of disability, death, and human tragedy. Rare, indeed, is the family that is entirely free of any known genetic disorder. Many thousands of different genetic disorders with defined clinical symptoms have been identified. Of the 3 to 6 percent of newborns with a recognized birth defect, at least half involve a predominantly genetic contribution. Furthermore, genetic defects are the major known cause of pregnancy loss in developed nations, and almost half of all spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) involve a chromosomally abnormal fetus. About 30 percent of all postnatal infant mortality in developed countries is due to genetic disease; 30 percent of pediatric and 10 percent of adult hospital admissions can be traced to a predominantly genetic cause. Finally, medical investigators estimate that genetic defects—however minor—are present in at least 10 percent of all adults.

[Source: Britannica: Human genetic disease]

Does genetic testing during pregnancy lead to more abortions?

Genetic counselling

Implications for Families

Caring for children with disability