By Robbie Pangilinan
Having a baby? Get to know your genes first!
Family planning used to be just a matter of choice in number of offspring and the spacing between each child, but it now includes couples undergoing genetic testing to determine the best child outcomes. Jeffrey Seitz, CEO of PHIX Genomics, tells us “Genetic testing, or carrier screening, provides you and your physician with information regarding your reproductive risks and how they may impact your children. By identifying each parent’s genetic risks, families can understand the chance that a child may or may not be affected by certain conditions.”
Genomics is the key to this. Every individual has two copies of each gene within their body. You receive one copy from your mother and one from your father. The combination is what determines your characteristics. A carrier is someone that has one normal copy of the gene and one abnormal copy. Oftentimes, carriers do not exhibit signs of health problems because they still possess one normal copy. It is common for individuals to be unaware of their carrier status.
Being a carrier, however, becomes very important when you have a child because this increases the chance your child will be affected by the disease. Understanding these genetic factors may help a would-be-parent prepare for the possibilities of health issues of the child and may potentially save the child’s life.
Today, 26,000 genetic tests are available catering to 5,400 conditions and the number keeps on growing. “Genetic testing through PHIX Genomics will be primarily for clinical purposes but it can be used for entertainment, too, for example, to determine the best mate for life! Biological compatibility information can be determined through genetic testing, which will help you to enhance a happy relationship and healthy marriage” says Seitz.
Genetic testing in the Philippines has been very limited, but wait no longer as PHIX Genomics is coming to the Philippines! Focusing on clinical genomic diagnostics, it is a pioneer in the Philippines, the first commercial company to establish a clinical genomics lab and develop the very first Filipino specific genome database.
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