The Counsyl Foresight Carrier Screen can help determine whether you carry inherited health conditions that you might pass on to a child. Knowing this information before you get pregnant, or early in your pregnancy, can make a difference in your family’s well-being.
The Foresight Carrier Screen analyzes your genes for conditions you might pass on to a child. If you are also interested in screening for conditions like Down syndrome in a current pregnancy, explore the Counsyl PreludeTM Prenatal Screen.
Your DNA contains two copies of every gene — one inherited from your mom, and one from your dad. These genes pass along family characteristics like hair and eye color. They also sometimes pass on inherited conditions.
Inherited conditions are caused by changes in genes called mutations. In most cases, as long as only one copy of a gene contains a mutation, you won’t have any symptoms.
Most people carry at least one mutation in a gene included in the Foresight Carrier Screen. This usually only becomes an issue if both you and your partner have a mutation in one copy of the same gene. When this happens, even though neither of you have any symptoms, there is a 1 in 4 chance for each pregnancy that your child will be affected by the condition associated with the gene.
There are a few conditions where only the mother needs to carry a mutation for her children to be at risk of developing symptoms.
Did you know?
Rare is common
Individually, inherited conditions are rare, but collectively, the conditions included in the Foresight Carrier Screen affect 1 in 300 pregnancies.1,2,3 That’s higher than the incidence of Down syndrome.
Family history doesn’t tell the whole story
Many of us are carriers of inherited conditions and simply don’t know it. Over 80% of children with inherited conditions are born to parents with no known family history.4
Inherited conditions don’t discriminate
Anyone in any ethnic or racial group can have a baby with an inherited condition. Medical societies now recognize the advantages of offering screening for the same set of diseases to all patients, regardless of ancestry.5
The Foresight Carrier Screen looks for over 175 serious conditions that you could pass on to your child. Some are conditions you may have heard of, such as cystic fibrosis. Some conditions can be treated early, others require lifelong management, and still others have no treatments. All conditions screened are clinically meaningful when you’re planning a pregnancy or expecting a child.
If both you and your partner are carriers of the same condition, there are important steps you can take whether you are planning a pregnancy or already pregnant.
If you’re planning a pregnancy
Carrier screening is ideally done pre-pregnancy. If you find out you and your partner are both carriers, you have options when it comes to building your family.
Pursue in vitro fertilization
During the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process a fertility specialist can look at the genes of several of your embryos and choose only those that will not be affected by the inherited condition to place in your womb. This is called preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic/single gene diseases, or PGT-M.
Consider other options
If both prospective parents are carriers for mutations in the same gene, you can greatly reduce the risk of having an affected child by finding an egg or sperm donor that is not a carrier for the same condition. Adoption is another option.
If you’re already pregnant
Diagnostic tests such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis can determine if an inherited disease was passed on to your child. Whether or not you decide to pursue diagnostic testing, there are options you can discuss with your healthcare provider if you find out you and your partner are both carriers for the same inherited condition.
Speak to a specialist
Knowing your child requires a certain type of care before birth means you can involve the right kind of specialist long before delivery. For some inherited conditions, there are treatments that can make a big difference in outcome if they are used early.
Find the right place to deliver
Depending on what your baby is at risk for, you might want to seek out a specialized facility that is equipped to manage newborns with inherited conditions.
Surround yourself with support
You may simply want to talk with one of our genetic counselors or work with a support group to understand what could lie ahead.
Counsyl is in-network with most major insurance plans. We also have financial assistance and payment plans to help you handle a high deductible if you have one.
The Foresight Carrier Screen has been designed to be highly accurate and comprehensive. Our advanced technology allows us to find more than 99% of carriers for the vast majority of conditions we screen for, regardless of ethnicity, so you can confidently make informed decisions for your family.
Simplicity and support
The Foresight Carrier Screen must be ordered by a healthcare provider. A small sample of your saliva or blood is all that’s needed and results are ready in about two weeks on average. Counsyl supports you throughout the screening process, from getting an estimate, to genetic counseling, and billing.
Putting your results in context
A series of educational videos and an on-demand or scheduled consultation with one of our board-certified genetic counselors is available with every Foresight Carrier Screen. Genetic counselors are specially-educated professionals who can provide the personalized help you may need to better understand your results and make informed choices.
Whether you are currently pregnant or just thinking about it, consider talking to your healthcare provider about carrier screening. He or she can help you understand more about how screening can help you have a healthy family.
- Hogan GJ. et al. Development and validation of an expanded carrier screen that optimizes sensitivity via full-exon sequencing and panel-wide copy-number-variant identification. BioRxiv doi: 10.1101/178350 (2017).
- Beauchamp KA, Muzzey D, Wong KK, et al. Systematic design and comparison of expanded carrier screening panels. Genetics in Medicine 2017; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.69.
- Haque IS, et al. Expanded carrier screening of 322,484 individuals: the case for going beyond cystic fibrosis. Eur S Hum Genet. 2015;23:S1.
- Blythe AS, Farrell PM. Advances in the diagnosis and management of cystic fibrosis.Clin Biochem.. 1984;17(5)277-283.
- Edwards JG, Feldman G, Goldberg J, et al. Expanded carrier screening in reproductive medicine-points to consider: a joint statement of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Society of Genetic Counselors, Perinatal Quality Foundation, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Obstet Gynecol.. 2015;125(3):653-662.