Most importantly, it will allow you and your partner to go into your marriage with your eyes wide open about tough decisions you will potentially need to face together. Here are some of the concerns that an ancestry DNA test can bring to light:
Potential Genetic Illness & Disease in You & Your Children
When it comes to having children with a future partner, testing is important because many genetic diseases are recessive. This means that even if neither you nor your partner exhibit symptoms of a problem gene, it’s still possible that one or both of you unknowingly carry it. If this is the case, there is a risk of passing the gene on to offspring, or even having a child that ends up suffering from the disease itself.
A DNA test kit can also give you information about late-onset genetic disorders. The most basic example of this is for women whose genetics put them at a higher risk for breast or ovarian cancer. But there are also diseases such as Alzheimer’s to look for as well. Knowing about an increased likelihood of these diseases allows you to make informed medical decisions going forward. For example, you can schedule more frequent cancer screenings, or prepare for the costs associated with specialized care later in life.
Be Sure You & Your Partner Aren’t Related
Another thing to consider is the possibility that you and your partner descend from the same genetic lineage. While this may sound funny or taboo, it does unfortunately happen to unsuspecting people all the time. And to be clear, we aren’t just talking about a bizarre case of accidentally marrying a long-lost sibling or cousin. There is a legitimate heightened risk of genetic disease when members of several communities around the globe unintentionally intermarry and have children, even if the relationships aren’t in any way incestuous.
Some examples of communities whose members will benefit from an ethnicity test include Eastern European Jews, who have an increased risk of Tay-Sachs; African Americans, who are prone to sickle cell anemia; or French Canadians, who experience a greater incidence of cystic fibrosis.
A screening test using a DNA test kit can help individuals from these communities understand what their specific genetic code looks like in order to better assess the risks of having children together.
Don’t Wait to Get Married to Make Tough Decisions
While it might feel good to bury your head in the sand now and not have a genealogy DNA test done, there are serious benefits to getting one. Understanding the potentialities that exist will allow you to make more informed decisions both now and in the future. There is simply no reason to wait until something goes wrong when you can get help to either plan for the problem in advance or avoid it entirely.
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