Genetics & Me: Genetic Testing Made Easy

Posted on Jun 14 2013 - 12:55am by Susan Bewley

Over the past year, I have been working hard to lose weight. I have been doing it not only for my own health, but for the future of my family. You see, my husband and I are hoping to have our first child sometime in the next year to two years. One of the agreements we made is that we both wanted to be healthy before we started a family, wanting to make sure I wouldn't be an 'at risk' pregnancy and that we would both truly be ready for the job. While my physical health is something I know I can change, I have always been a bit worried about the unknown. Having lost one of my childhood friends to leukemia, childhood diseases and genetic disorders have  seemed all too real to me. For this reason, we decided a long time ago we wanted to have genetic testing before we started a family.

The biggest problem I knew we would face with genetic testing was cost. Many of the tests that are on the market cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. While we hope to both have insurance at some point (we are both self employed), we know it's not an option at the moment. At least, that was our thought until we found out about 23 and Me, a genetic testing service. This service provides you with over 240 different health reports, all of which tells you quite a bit of information about your own personal genetics, things like:

  • Being a Carrier for Certain Diseases/Conditions
  • Disease Risks
  • Drug Responses
  • Offspring Traits (thing such as hair color, eating habits, & health concerns)

While I know it may seem a bit pessimistic to worry about these things, it's also showing a bit of caution. For example, if I found out I'm at an increased risk of having diabetes, I know to not only watch my own diet, but the diet of my future children as well. To me, knowledge is power and is the first step to guaranteeing that you and your family can live a healthy, happy lifestyle.

23andmeimage

What I also loved about 23 and Me is that its more than a genetic testing system that looks for diseases – it is also a way to learn about your family. One of the spiffy things about this testing service is that they also look at your ancestor composition, allowing you to learn more about your own family history, find new relatives, create a family tree, and more. As someone who was originally a social studies teacher, I have always been fascinated by my own family's past and where we originated. Since genetics don't lie, this can be the best way to learn!

If you were like me when I first found out about 23 and Me, you probably have two questions – how does it work and how much does it cost? Unlike other genetics tests that require expensive blood tests, 23 and Me only needs you to spit into a cup in their kit and send it back. From your saliva, they are able to pull up your own unique DNA within 5 – 8 weeks. Once you get your results, you can also constantly get updates about your DNA as new research comes out, letting you have the best information possible without any additional cost (some similar services have subscription fees). Since for kids it is only $99, it seems like a real deal, making it great for couples like us who do our best to live on a budget. To learn more about genetic testing and this great service, make sure to check out 23 and Me. I think we will be ordering two of these sets soon!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Budget Earth did receive monetary compensation for this post.

About 

Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

27 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Chelesa sims June 14, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    What a neat idea and not expensive like I thought when I first started to read this. Doing it at home is so cool.

  2. Rachel N June 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Interesting, seems like it's pretty easy.  If I were at risk I would consider it.

  3. Amanda June 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    I would love to do this, just to see if I am a carrier for any diseases that I could pass on to my kids.  It is a little too pricey for us right now, unfortunately.

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 10:36 am - Reply

      It is a bit pricy but so much cheaper than all the other options on the market. The carrier thing is the main reason I’m doing it!

  4. Jennifer June 18, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Pretty neat idea. Personally not for me I feel if I am blessed with a child I dont want to know whats coming or what could happen there are so many ifs in life I could go crazy.

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Having this information though could easiy save your baby’s life. Some genetic disorders, if caught early, can be fixed with modern medicine or tempered if they are caught early. As well, this sort of information is just as good for mom. I know if I had a high risk of breast cancer I would want to know this 😉

  5. Denise Smith June 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    i would like this sounds very interestiing

  6. kymi a June 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    I'm so amaze at how easy this is to find out your family genetics. I would love to get a kit and find out more about myself and my hubby. thank you for posting.

  7. MrsD June 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Back in my day genetic testing was only done if there was a significant risk such as the mother was older or there was a family history. To me, there is no point in doing the testing unless it will change the outcome of the pregnancy (ex. you will terminate if there is a problem), otherwise it just is what it is and life goes on. JMHO…

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

      I guess for me its knowledge is power. For example, if I was a carrier for sickle cell anemia, its good to know something like that, especially if my husband is as well. If doctors know that sort of information walking in, they can be very careful making sure the baby has the right kind of care and testing at birth.  I couldn’t imagine anything worse than bleeding to death at a simple cut!  Also, as was in the new recently, I would like to know if I was more likely to get breast cancer.

  8. Amy L June 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    That is really cool.  I have considered getting the testing done on ancestor.com – but pretty sure its way more.  Its a good thing to have a heads up. You know how you can have that amniocentisos done – to see if your child has downsyndrome – i chose not too – its unsafe for the baby and i would still choose to have a child with it. My baby was born without it – he does have adhd and very picky when comes to food lol i wonder how it comes up with eating habits?  be interested to see what else it has to say – including more ancestral info. 
    Going to pin it to my check out later board on pinterest.

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      I was curious about the eating habit one myself. I know I read somewhere there is a gene that determines how you handle spicy foods 😉

  9. Maria Iemma June 19, 2013 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I would have thought it would be very expensive but it seems like a pretty easy thing to do. I wish this was available years ago before I had my kids.

  10. laurie damrose June 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    This a fascinating concept.

  11. Megan June 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I would be interested in hearing how reliable the health-related information is – it's only recently that they've added that to their marketing, the original emphasis was on the geneology side. 

  12. Nicole Becker June 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    I so need to do this!! My Mom and a few women on my Mom's side have either died from cancer or has cancer now. I would like to know whether or not I carry the gene because I am worried whether or not my children will get it. I am going to look into this for sure. I wonder if it is covered by my insurance.

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure. I’m happy there is now one on the market that’s so cheap!

  13. Mary June 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    This is interesting. I already have a feeling what conditions & things would pop up but this would still be good to do!

  14. krystel June 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    what a great isea i like that its not all that expensive noy many things these days are all that unexpensive 

  15. Brittani Welch June 22, 2013 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Very informative 🙂 Love this post!

  16. Helen May June 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Amazing that it's that cheap. Sometimes I think it would be interesting to find out about and other times I'm not sure I want to know!

  17. Jina Prez June 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Interesting

  18. ashley June 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    I think this is great information to have out there, It could help alot of people

     

  19. Jo-Ann Brightman July 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    This is an interesting idea – to have a relatively inexensive way to find out about your genetics is great.  It could definitley help many people

  20. Eugenie July 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I found some of the research findings on the site to be quite interesting. The price is very reasonable for this service.

  21. Kate F. July 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    That's an interesting idea. I hadn't even thought about getting genetically tested before.

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