Genetic Testing as Part of Premarital Screening

Informed decision, healthier future

Genetic Testing as Part of Premarital Screening

Informed decision, healthier future

Premarital Testing

Premarital screening is a mandatory requirement for Emirati and resident couples intending to get married. The purpose of the screening is to protect the public’s health by ensuring that potential infections are identified and addressed before marriage. The screening includes appointments with experts and physicians who provide premarital counselling and can address any other immediate health concerns. This measure is implemented to safeguard the health and well-being of individuals and their future offspring.

Premarital Genetic Testing

In 2022, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), announced that an optional genetic screening has been incorporated into its premarital screening programme.

Premarital genetic testing is a process where couples undergo genetic tests to identify if they are carriers of shared genetic mutations that could be passed on to their future children and cause preventable genetic diseases. The comprehensive genetic testing list includes 570 genes that cover 840+ genetic disorders. It is important because it can help couples assess the risk of having children with genetic disorders and support them in making informed decisions about family planning.

Why Consider Premarital Genetic Testing?

Premarital genetic disease testing has limitations in detecting every possible genetic risk or condition and does not ensure a 100% guarantee of having completely healthy offspring. It helps identify potential risks of passing on genetic disorders, allowing couples to make informed decisions and take preventive measures. However, various factors can influence a child's health, and genetic testing is just one aspect to consider in family planning. 

Consulting with healthcare professionals and genetic counsellors is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and available options premarital testing decreases congenital anomalies and can help prevent inherited genetic disorders. 

Testing couples before marriage for the most common genetic mutations (570 genes) that correspond to more than 840+ genetic disorders. These diseases include intellectual and/or motor disabilities, deafness, early loss of vision, immunodeficiencies and congenital anomalies.

Through premarital genetic testing, couples are provided with the following services:

  • Revision of medical and family history including genetic diseases
  • Relevant blood tests
  • Comprehensive genetic testing for the most common genetic mutations (570 genes)
  • Arranging for specialist consultation as needed for genetic disorders that could be passed on to the next generation
  • Address couples’ concerns and queries regarding the premarital tests results
  • Providing health education and guidance on a healthy pregnancy and prenatal counselling
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