mother and father with child

What is genetic testing?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.”1

It’s a process that typically involves a simple blood draw or saliva sample that is then analyzed to:

  1. aid in family planning by determining carrier status for genetic disorders a parent(s) could pass on to children (known as carrier screening)
  2. gain insights about the health of your baby during pregnancy through various tests, from serum screening to noninvasive prenatal screening (also called cfDNA screening) to diagnostic testing
  3. assess your risk levels for specific hereditary cancers, such as breast, prostate, and pancreatic

Want to learn more?

Additional Resources


  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Genetics Home Reference. What is genetic testing? Accessed June 15, 2017.