What should I consider before getting tested?

 

You should be aware that getting genetically tested could have implications for you and your family. Furthermore, genetic testing does have limitations in the information it can offer.

However in some cases and for some individuals the benefits of genetic testing can outweigh these implications. This should be determined by yourself together with your health professional. 

Some aspects you may want to consider before getting tested are:

 

a) Emotional

You may feel anxious, worried or depressed throughout the process including before getting the test, while you wait for the results and after you receive your results. Our genetic counsellor can support you through the process, should you choose the option of having a consultation with our genetic counsellor.


b) Family

Sometimes the process of having a genetic test can bring families closer together. Sometimes it can lead to disagreements. It is important to remember that your test result might give you more information as to who in your family could have a higher chance of developing certain diseases and conditions.

Each individual within a family has the right to make their own decision about genetic testing and has the right to know as well as the right not to know. Speak openly to your family members about your decision and how your test results may affect them. Our genetic counsellor can help you decide how best to share the information within your family, should you choose the option of having a consultation with our genetic counsellor.

 

c) Cost

Genetic testing may not be affordable for everyone. Actions that you may need to or choose to take following the results of your test may generate additional financial costs including additional doctor visits, screenings, drug therapies, surgery or nutritional and exercise plans. You may want to consider these costs in your budget.

 

d) Insurance

Health insurance
Your genetic testing decision will not affect your health insurance. It may be worth considering getting health insurance if you don't already have one, and if already you do, have a closer look at the specialist, hospital and extra cover options so that you are prepared in case you may need to seek further medical treatment immediately after test results, as there is usually a waiting period before you can make claims on new policies.

Life insurance including trauma/disability and income protection policies
If you decide to have a genetic test and find you are at increased risk of hereditary diseases and conditions due faulty genes you will only have to tell the insurance company your results if you take out a new policy or change your existing policy. Your results will not affect any life insurance you have already secured. If your results show that you have not inherited a faulty gene, it may be beneficial in terms of your insurance premiums. It is recommended that you confirm the policies and terms and conditions of your insurance service provider. It may also be helpful to discuss your situation with your financial advisor.

The Financial Services Council (FSC) have also agreed that its insurance companies will consider the potential beneficial effects of disease screening or other preventive strategies and have adopted these principles: 

  • Not make someone have a genetic test if they do not want to 
  • Not use one family member’s results to assess other family members’ policies when applying to the same company
  • Ensure confidentiality of your results

 

e) Privacy

In Australia everyone is protected by the Privacy Act. You should choose a reputable provider of genetic testing services who adheres to Australian and industry standards for protecting consumer privacy and rights.