Fortunately, most women give birth to healthy babies. As with most things in health and medical science, not everything is predictable. Preconception screening and testing with a blood test can help couples predict whether or not they will have a healthy newborn. The results of the test can help a couple decide whether or not to have children and allow them to consider all of their reproductive options. It also greatly minimizes the potential risks, some of them life-threatening, to a mother and fetus.

What is preconception carrier screening?
Preconception carrier screening is a screening that you can have before becoming pregnant to help predict your chances of having a child with a genetic disorder.

About three percent of newborns will have a major birth defect.

What types of diseases can this test predict?
Carrier tests are available for a limited number of diseases, including cystic fibrosis, fragile X syndrome, sickle cell disease, and Tay-Sachs disease. As a result of carrier screening programs, the incidence of inherited conditions, such as Tay-Sachs disease (TSD), has decreased by more than 90 percent.

What is a carrier?
Many individuals who are carriers of genetic disorders don't have symptoms. A carrier is a person who has no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, of a disorder but can pass on the gene for that disorder to his or her child.

How is carrier screening done?
Carrier screening involves testing a sample of blood or saliva. The sample is sent to a lab for testing. Typically, the partner who is most likely to have a defective gene is tested first. If the test results show that the first partner is not the carrier, no additional testing is needed. If test results show the first partner is a carrier, the other partner is tested.

When can the screening be done?
You can have the carrier screening before pregnancy, or during pregnancy. If it is done before pregnancy, you have a broader range of options and more time to make decisions. We are starting to see women inquire about the testing well before they plan on children, just for peace of mind for their future when and if a pregnancy occurs. Because this test is often covered by insurance, it’s an affordable was to help plan your future.

Who should consider preconception carrier screening?
A health care provider or genetic counselor can help you find out if you are at increased risk of passing on a genetic disorder by obtaining a family health history. This involves asking certain questions about your health and your family’s health. You are at increased risk if you have a genetic disorder. Dr. Michael Putman, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility expert, also offers this screening to his patients who are in the beginning stages of family planning or who have some indication that they might be a carrier of a genetic disease.


For more than 20 years, Dr. Putman has been at the fore front of providing the newest and most advanced treatment for his patient with infertility issues.   “My dedicated team and I are totally committed to my patients.  We know in our hearts what excellent parents they will become.”  Patients consistently comment on two unique aspects of Dr. Putman's office: a personalized and aggressive plan with impeccable attention to detail and the warm and caring atmosphere.  Dr. Putman is the Medical Director for the Fertility Center of Dallas, bringing the latest technology and scientific innovations to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Dr. Putman diagnoses and treats all aspects of infertility disorders.  Treatments include but are not limited to; In Vitro Fertilization,  fertility preservation in cancer patient for both males and females, ovulation induction, artificial insemination (IUI), recurrent pregnancy loss, minimally invasive surgery for endometriosis, uterine fibroids, congenital anomalies, and tubal reconstruction.

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