First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Carla, and I am an integral part of the Genetic Support Foundation (GSF) Team. Well, at least the idea of “me” has become near and dear to the folks at GSF. I am actually the star of their new video on noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). But, I am really much more than that; I represent women who are pregnant and trying to sort through all of the prenatal testing options out there. How is one supposed to make these decisions? Pregnancy is hard enough with all of these hormones and food cravings. I have been driving through the Taco Bell drive-through every. Single. Day. They know me by name and my order by heart; I digress.
So, since I am going to be 35 at delivery, one of the tests my doctor offered me is noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). You may have heard this test called by other names such as NIPS, cell free DNA testing or brand names such as, Panorama, MaterniT21, Harmony, Verifi, informaSeq, etc. I guess this is a newer prenatal screening test, as I didn’t know about it during my last pregnancy in 2010 (apparently it came out in 2011). Last time around I decided not to have any screening because I was 30 and I wasn’t really worried. But this time things feel different, and everyone keeps talking about my age! What’s up with 35?
Anyway, here I am trying to weigh all of my options…should I have NIPT or should I consider going straight for more definitive answers and have a test like CVS or amniocentesis? Or, am I ok skipping all of them and just waiting until the baby is born to know if he/she has a genetic condition?
My partner and I just met with a genetic counselor, which was super helpful. The genetic counselor was able to help us by not only explaining all of our testing options, but providing us with some questions to think about to help us decide what testing, if any, was right for us given our beliefs, values, personality and needs. Genetic counselors don’t tell you what to do, they simply give you the information necessary to help you make a decision that is right for you!
Another thing that was helpful to me was being a part of the NIPT informational video produced by GSF that I mentioned earlier. You should really check it out! This video explains how NIPT works, what conditions it can screen for, what results can and cannot tell you and how to decide if this test is right for you.
I’m still in the process of figuring out my prenatal testing plans, but I know I am on the right track and the information at www.geneticsupportfoundation.org is equipping me to make a decision that is right for me!
On behalf of the GSF Team, thanks for reading Our 2 Strands!
Let’s stay in touch,
P.S. Send a comment to GSF through our Get Connected page if you can guess why my name is Carla! First person to guess correctly (who isn’t related to someone on staff) will win an official Genetic Support Foundation T-shirt!