Treatment Options

At-Home Genetic Testing

Possible Harm/No Value Genetic tests examine the genes to see if they indicate particular diseases or disorders. Your genes determine characteristics like eye color or height, but also contribute to your chances of getting certain diseases. Newer technology allows people to test at-home by using a blood sample or swab from inside the cheek. If a blood sample is required, you may need to go to a predetermined laboratory. Samples taken at-home are then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Things to Consider

  • The Food and Drug Administration has not reviewed any at-home genetic testing kits for safety, effectiveness or accuracy
  • Genetic tests are the newest technology used to test for hereditary disorders
  • If you are considering using a genetic test, talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner about whether or not a genetic test might provide useful information about your health

Results

Possible Harm/No Value

Will I live longer if I have at home genetic testing?

No. Scientific evidence does not show that at-home genetic testing prolongs life.

Will the use of at home genetic testing improve my quality of life?

No. Scientific evidence has not confirmed that at-home genetic testing improves one’s quality of life.

Does the use of at home genetic testing make my symptoms better?

No. Scientific evidence has not confirmed that at-home genetic testing makes symptoms better.

Safety

Possible Harm/No Value

Complications related to at-home genetic testing appear to be rare. However, there are no valid studies available to prove that these tests give accurate results. Inaccurate results may be due to sample misidentification or contamination of the chemicals used for testing. Many of the risks associated with genetic testing involve the emotional, social or financial consequences of the test results. Safeguarding your privacy could be an issue. Genetic testing obtained through a Web site may have the results posted online. If the Web site is not secure, your information may be seen by others. Genetic testing obtained by mail may also involve security issues.

Minor reported complications:

  • Bruising after having a blood sample drawn
  • There have been no reported complications related to the swab from inside the cheek

Major reported complications:

None reported

Comparison

Little Value

Alternative testing includes:

  • Genetic testing performed in a specialized laboratory as part of a physical exam that includes a person’s family background and medical history
  • Genetic counseling and interpretation with a professionally trained counselor or doctor who understands the value of genetic testing for the situation

Cost

Possible Harm/No Value

Prices of at-home genetic tests range from $295 to $3,456.

The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.

Sources

The following are off-site links off-site link :

American College of Medicine Genetics Board of Directors. (2008, April). ACMG statement on direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Retrieved February 2, 2009 from http://www.acmg.net/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Policy_Statements&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2975.

Federal Trade Commission. FTC Facts for Consumers. (2006, July). At-home genetic tests: A healthy dose of skepticism may be the best prescription. Retrieved February 2, 2009 from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/health/hea02.htm.

Federal Trade Commission. (2006, July). Talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner about home genetic tests. Retrieved February 2, 2009 from http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/07/fyi0650.htm.

National Institutes of Health. (2008, February). What is direct-to-consumer genetic testing? Retrieved February 2, 2009 from http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing/directtoconsumer.

Next Review Date

02/04/2010

This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  possible harm / no value

safety:  possible harm / no value

comparison:  little value

cost: possible harm / no value


total: possible harm / no value

legend

scale

Page modified:May 18, 2012