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Saturday, 16 Jun 2018

Is it ever a good idea to get your DNA tested?

By Private Therapy Clinic

dna testedIn recent years it has become progressively easier and cheaper to get one’s DNA tested, and more and more people are doing so. In the process, they are finding out a lot about themselves—and they are not always prepared for it!

One major issue is that a lot of people are finding half-siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles that they didn’t know about. It’s simply not true that infidelity is a modern phenomenon. Throughout the generations, a surprising number of children have been born outside wedlock. In the past these “illegitimate” births, as they were once referred to, were often considered shameful. Babies were put up for adoption, and often never told that they had been adopted, while women who went on to have more children frequently preferred never to tell them about an episode that they experienced as painful and even shameful. But with the advent of DNA testing for all, it’s no longer possible to keep secrets like this. Anyone thinking of joining in needs to be prepared for the possibility that they will discover some surprises in their family tree, and even for the fact that they themselves might not be the child of the man whom they have always considered to be their father. It’s important to think through all the possibilities before taking the plunge, because once you know something, you can’t unknow it!

Another factor comes with those services that also give you information about your genetic risk for a range of diseases. While genes are rarely the only reason why someone develops a particular condition, some ailments are strongly associated with particular genes. On the one hand, it can be useful to know what your predispositions are, so that you can take action to lessen the chance of getting the condition, or at least to ameliorate it. On the other hand, what if you find out that you are likely to develop a particular condition, and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? Are you prepared to deal with that sort of stress? Or would you prefer to go through life just not knowing? What if you found out that you carry a gene that could seriously affect the health of your child or future child? Would you feel comfortable having that information? There are no right answers here, but these are all questions that need to be carefully considered before taking the plunge.

On a brighter note, one effect of the tests has been to show people that many, if not most, of us are a lot more “mixed” than we thought. As we learn about our genetic links to people all over the world, hopefully we can collectively say goodbye to racism.


For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.

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