Monday, January 9, 2017

Why, as an over 35 high risk pregnancy momma, I am NOT Doing Genetic Testing

Hi, I'm Sabrina and I'm a 38 year old pregnant woman with an incompetent cervix and a penchant for having preterm babies.

I'll spare you the gory details of my medical history but I will say that my 4 year old daughter was born at 36 weeks via c-section when my water broke - at work no less!  Not sure if my "incompetent cervix" had anything to do with it. Luckily, she was born without any complications and very healthy. The baby nurse in the delivery room surmised that my OB really messed up my due date.

Flash forward 4 years and I'm pregnant with my second facing another c-section  (my choice) and the fact that I'm of "advanced maternal age" (over 35)  now.

We never did genetic testing with my daughter and my doctor didn't push it. This time around with my new OB'S office, genetic testing was not only encouraged but pretty much expected.

After some research, a few frustrating calls to our insurance company followed up with more calls to our OB'S office we decided it wasn't for us.


No Family History of Genetic Disorders

My husband, Matt, comes from a large family.  His Dad is one of 8 and his mom is one of 5 so there are a bazillion cousins, aunts and uncles.  He also has 3 brothers and a sister. My immediate family pales in comparison.  I'm an only child and my parents are only children.  I have no aunts, no uncles and no first cousins.  Now, if you take a step back in history the story on my side is much different with my grandparents averaging around 10 brothers and sisters each.  While there is lots of heart disease and cancer on both sides of both of our family trees, there are no genetic disorders.  I know that my age is a major factor, but the argument can be made that my great-great grandmother was having children around my age considering she was still having children when her own DAUGHTER (my great-grandmother) started having children. 

False Positives Happen

And with my newly discovered anxiety that is a bad mix.  Yes, some of these tests are 95% accurate, but I've still heard and read too many stories of false positives or mix-ups happening.  Ugh, ugh.  No thanks!

It's Too Damn Expensive

And there is no guarantee that insurance will pay for it.  If you've ever called your insurance company than you now it is an exercise in futility.  I spent 30 minutes on the phone with mine trying to find out if genetic testing was covered.  I had the codes and specific test names - to say I was prepared was an understatement.  The final answer from the woman on the other line. "I don't know.  I don't understand what I am reading."  It was a colossal waste of time.  I was able to forward some information from her to my doctor's office and even the account manager there wasn't sure what she was reading.  She felt she could make a good case to convince them to pay for it, but there was no guarantee they would.  We already have a high deductible so I didn't want to be out an extra $3,000-$10,000 depending on what the lab charged and what our portion was to pay.    Nope.  Nope.  Nope. 

There they are.  All of the reasons why we called and said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to genetic testing.  And you know what?  As excited as I was about finding out the sex of our baby 2 months earlier than last time, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I called to cancel that appointment.  

I was definitely getting a big of pressure from my OB's office to get it done because of my risk factors.  No one likes being pressured, but I feel I did the right thing by researching my options and coming to my own conclusions.

I'm writing this because in my research, I found that there are a lot of articles praising genetic testing and not many about women who turn it down and everything turns out alright.  While I have nothing against it, I just feel it is not for us.  

I want to know, did you decide to have the genetic testing done?  Why or why not?  I want to hear your experiences too.  

*Please note that I am not a medical professional and this article should not replace a medical professionals advice.  These views are of my own opinions.