Genetic Testing and Profiling for Pregnancy

Genetic testing is more popular than ever, and it is done following a simple blood or saliva draw that analyzes the DNA of an individual. Results of the test will show carriers for any potential genetic diseases or disorders, but they are not a diagnostic tool. Being a carrier for any condition does not mean that you or your offspring will develop it. At Growing Generations, we encourage intended parents to take part in genetic testing prior to choosing an egg donor to determine if they may pass down any genetic mutations to their child.

All of our egg donors take part in genetic testing, so intended parents will be able to compare their own genetic profiles against those completed by potential egg donors. The tests are meant to help you choose an egg donor that presents the fewest risks of genetic abnormalities.

Here’s a look at a few of the conditions the genetic profile is able to detect:

  • Alpha-Thalassemia: This blood disorder limits the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood that carries oxygen to cells in the body.
  • Beta-Thalassemia: Individuals with this blood disorder that impacts the production of hemoglobin often develop serious anemia within the first two years of life.
  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF): This is a genetic disorder that is well known for its negative impact on the lungs. However, it can also cause damage to the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestines. This condition often leaves sufferers with a plethora of problems including difficulty breathing, frequent lung infections, and potential infertility in males. There currently is no cure.
  • Fragile X Syndrome: This genetic syndrome has been linked to many intellectual disabilities, especially in males. Experts report that nearly half of all children diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome will meet the criteria to support an autism diagnosis.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia: A hereditary blood disorder, sickle cell anemia is characterized by abnormalities in the oxygen carrying molecules in red blood cells. Complications can include severe infections and a higher likelihood of stroke.
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): This is a recessive disorder marked by a defect in the gene responsible for encode proteins. While SMA has a wide range of severity, those with this disorder are likely to experience atrophy, or muscle wasting, typically beginning with the lungs. This disorder is believed to be the most common genetic cause of infant death.
  • Tay-Sachs Disease: A rare genetic disorder, this condition attacks nerve cells, causing deterioration of mental and physical abilities. Those with a positive Tay-Sachs diagnosis generally display symptoms at around 6 months old, with many not living past their fortieth birthday.

If you’re an intended parent or egg donor with Growing Generations, please do not hesitate to bring any questions to your assigned case specialist and contact us here.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.