Marrying? Get screened to avoid passing on genetic diseases

most of us are not fully aware of our state of health

Illustrative Image Courtesy: Babycenter.com

DUBAI 20 May 2017: Pre-marital screening is a customary blood test, which allows couples to be genetically screened for incurable inherited diseases before they start a family.

The test checks for 549 diseases, 600 genetic disorders and 4,000 genetic mutation by a blood sample only.

Marriage is a significant event in a couple’s life.

However, most of us are not fully aware of our state of health or what we might be carrying forward genetically. Though you might not have any health problems in the past, you may be a silent carrier of a hereditary disease, which could affect your children once you choose to conceive.

The IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic, a highly-advanced IVF institution with clinics in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat, stresses on the importance of pre-marital screening for all couples trying to conceive – whether naturally or through IVF means.

Pre-marital screening can be done through a simple blood test known as Carrier Genetic Test (CGT) – which checks for 549 diseases, 600 genetic disorders and 4,000 genetic mutations by a blood sample only which is studied in the lab in detail.

Pre-marital screenings serve to detect potential health problems, which not only cover thalassemia but also a wide spectrum of genetically transmitted problems.

”It is noted that 18 per cent of paediatric hospital consultations see visits for genetic problems and 20 per cent of infant mortality in developed countries is due to genetic disorders. A pre-marital screening test like CGT prevents patients from transmitting diseases to their children even if they are the carriers. As it detects genetic incompatibilities at an early stage, it reduces the chances of transmission of such diseases,” said Dr. Human Fatemi, Medical Director at IVI Middle East.”

“Generally, parents who are carriers of serious genetic diseases realize it after giving birth to an affected child. Genetic diseases cannot be cured, but can be prevented. CGT allows us to identify such couples. This can prevent serious genetic diseases that lack treatment option. A positive result means the presence of one or more mutations in the individual. In that case, the test should be carried out in the other member of the couple too. If both are carriers of a mutation in the same single gene, there is high risk of having a sick child. In such cases there are options to conceive healthy children with IVF means,” said Dr Fatemi.

Consanguineous Couples

“In the UAE and the region where consanguineous couples – those marrying first or second-degree relatives is common, such pre-marital screening is highly recommended. The test not only provides peace of mind, but also ensures that if couples are told they are at risk of having a child with an inherited disease, they can be assured of absolutely healthy babies via IVF,” added Dr. Human Fatemi.

By Sheena Amos