Genetic test helps parents have healthy babies

February 2, 2010 12:08:07 AM PST
A Redwood City company founded by two Stanford graduates is promising parents-to-be a look into the future to see if their children could be at risk for more than 100 different diseases.

The Counsyl Universal Genetic Test uses saliva to look for genetic mutations linked to 109 diseases. The list includes cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease. Results are available in less than a week.

But some geneticists say there are many mutations the test does not cover, and other mutations are hard to interpret.

If a husband and wife do test positive for the same disease, one solution would be to use in vitro fertilization with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. That's where doctors check each embryo and implant only those that are free of specific mutations.