FAQs - Preconception Screening – GeneClinicX

FAQs - Preconception Screening

FAQs - Preconception Screening

In an active reproductive life, the period or phase before conception is called the preconception period. Since the timing of conception is never sure, the time when a couple stops using any contraception or starts thinking about having a baby is considered the preconception period. Generally, the three months before a woman conceives and up to three months after conception is a critical period, which can have significant effects on the health of the mother, the baby and the overall outcome of the pregnancy.

a. A woman who is healthy at the time of conception is more likely to have a successful pregnancy and a healthy child. Preconception care is an opportunity for you and your partner to improve your health before you start trying for a baby.
b. Preconception care motivates families to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to be prepared for a healthy and planned pregnancy.
c. Preconception care helps you to diagnose and manage pre-existing medical conditions (e.g., anaemia, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, thyroid disorders and sexually transmitted infections) which can have serious adverse effects on your as well as your baby’s health.
d. Preconception care gives you an opportunity to discuss your anxiety and concerns regarding risk of genetic disorders in your baby. Genetic test results sometimes take 3-4 weeks to be ready, hence, preconception is an ideal time to get these done.

Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV infections, but cervical cancer may take 20 years or longer to develop after an HPV infection. The HPV infection and early cervical cancer typically don't cause noticeable symptoms. Getting vaccinated against HPV infection is your best protection from cervical cancer.

Because early cervical cancer doesn't cause symptoms, it's vital that women have regular screening tests to detect any precancerous changes in the cervix that might lead to cancer.

Women ages 25 to 65 are advised to continue being screened every three years, or every five years if they also get the HPV DNA test at the same time. Women over 65 can stop testing if they've had two HPV DNA and Pap tests with no abnormal results.

4 in 5 couples are likely to conceive within one year of unprotected intercourse. The GeneClinicX Preconception package screens prospective couples for common medical conditions in preconception and offers optional testing for common genetic disorders. This service is not meant for couples who are having difficulty conceiving or undergoing treatment for subfertility. Please consult your gynaecologist for further information about these issues. If you have concerns about the genetic risks, you can plan your counselling session with our genetic counsellors.

Unfortunately, between 2% and 5% of couples face two or more miscarriages. The GeneClinicX Preconception package screens prospective couples for common medical conditions prior to conception, including optional screening for specific common genetic disorders. This package is not meant for couples who have had repeated miscarriages. If you want more information about this, our Geneticist will speak to you in your pre-test counselling session.

As soon as you stop using regular contraception, you and your partner should prepare yourself for conception. At that time, you may wish to opt for our Preconception package.

GeneClinicX’s Preconception Health package includes a number of tests performed on your blood and/or urine. This package has been created in consultation with a panel of gynaecologists and geneticists. The package also includes a pre-test and a post-test counselling session which will help you understand your test results and alleviate your concerns regarding any future pregnancy.

No, tests included in the preconception package will not be affected by the current treatment for your medical condition(s). However, during the post-test consultation included in this Package, the GeneClinicX doctor may recommend some modifications to your treatment regimen. Please note that some medicines (e.g., for epilepsy and for depression) may have serious effects on foetus organ structure and, hence, it is very critical that you provide complete details of any treatment you are currently taking during your pre and post-test counselling.

The GeneClinicX Preconception package includes carrier screening for common genetic disorders such as beta thalassemia, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and spinal muscular atrophy. Our genetic counsellors/medical geneticist will be able to give you more information about these common disorders during your pre-test counselling session. If you have other concerns such as family members who may be affected by a genetic disorder, or unexplained pregnancy losses or miscarriages amongst blood relatives, please let us know. Our genetic counsellors will be pleased to discuss the implications with you during your pre-test counselling session.

Yes, apart from a blood group (Rh-ABO) test, Rubella IgG and IgM antibody, and HbA2 estimation by Hb electrophoresis for Beta Thalassemia (a tests for genetic disorders) all the other tests should be repeated. Our counsellor will speak to you during the pre-test counselling session and determine the need for repeat testing.

a. Start planning for pregnancy by taking folic acid supplements as soon as you stop using contraception. Usually, a daily 400 micro gram dose is sufficient to prevent neural tube defects (a defect in the spine formation of the baby) in about 90% of cases. You may need higher doses of folic acid if you have pre-existing diabetes or have any history of previous child affected neural tube defects.
b. Both partners should stop smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming any other illicit drugs.
c. Involve yourself in a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and a light exercise plan.
d. Enrol in a preconception plan to screen for common medical conditions so that they can be managed well during this critical period
e. Consult a health care professional involved in preconception care regarding any genetic risks for your child and modification of dose or type of medicine you may already be taking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Preconception care as the provision of biomedical, behavioural and social health interventions to women and couples before conception occurs. It aims at improving their health status and reducing behaviours and individual and environmental factors that contribute to poor maternal and child health outcomes. Its ultimate aim is to improve maternal and child health, in both the short and long term.

4 of 5 couples are likely to conceive within one year of unprotected intercourse. Preconception care will make both partners better prepared for the upcoming pregnancy. Small changes in your lifestyle, nutrition and management of some medical conditions will increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and successful pregnancy outcome. Knowing the genetic risks in your family will also help you make informed choices about your impending pregnancy.

We test the blood and urine of female partners only. However, we strongly recommend that male partners be part of the pre-test and post-test consultation sessions. They can significantly contribute to preconception health by 1) providing detailed genetic family history 2) quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption 3) screen for sexually transmitted infection so that the chance of transmission to their female partner is minimized and 4) adopt a healthy lifestyle along with their female partner.

There is a background risk of 3% to5% for major genetic abnormalities in every pregnancy, regardless of the family history or any other factors. If marriage happens between close blood relatives like cousins, then this risk is increased 2-3 times. In other words, in 90% of such marriages, children are born normal. However, it is recommended that you get yourself screened for common genetic disorders like beta thalassemia, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and spinal muscular atrophy. You and your partner, however, may talk to our counsellors during your pre-test counselling session to have any concerns resolved.

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