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    Feb 18, 2020

    I Tried An At-Home Genetic Test For Couples Who Want To Have Kids And Here's What It Was Like

    Picture Parenting is a saliva test that looks specifically for health-related risks in your DNA.

    I think by now it's safe to say that we've all heard of at-home genetic kits where you send in a sample of your saliva to learn more about your family tree. Some tests also show your genetic risks for certain health conditions.

    Paramount Pictures

    As someone who has taken 23andMe before, I saw a new test that caught my eye because I am a parent — and eventually might have more kids.

    Picture Parenting finds common genetic conditions that you may pass on to your children. They also offer free genetic counseling after you get your results.

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    According to their website, they test for 30 of the most commonly inherited conditions across different populations and ethnicities. This includes cystic fibrosis, fragile X syndrome, sickle cell disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease. You can see the full list of what they test for here.

    So I decided to see if it would be beneficial in a different way than 23andMe was. (For reference, with 23andMe I was able to learn more about my ancestry, as well as my health. It told me which gene variants I had for certain conditions and, in turn, that I could potentially pass those variants on to my children.)

    Another important note is that the 23andMe test uses genotyping and Picture Parenting uses DNA sequencing. In other words, you cannot take your 23andMe test to a doctor because it is not a medical-grade test.

    The Picture Parenting kit was simple. You spit into the tube, snap it shut, and send it in.

    Krista Torres / BuzzFeed

    Then, after about a month, you get your results. I was relieved to see that I was negative for all the conditions that were tested:

    However, after I looked at the breakdown further, I realized that the probability of having these conditions to begin with was very low. Even though I was negative across the board, I decided to set up a meeting with a genetic counselor to learn more about what exactly I was tested for.

    During the half-hour call with the genetic counselor, I learned that even if you test positive for a particular trait, the probability of passing it on to your child is fairly low. In addition, this is a test that both you and your partner need to do separately for family planning purposes. If you both test positive for the same condition, then the genetic counselor is there to inform you about the likelihood of passing it on, what to expect, etc.

    While I thought the test was informative and I liked the genetic counseling aspect, I do feel like it didn't offer as much as 23andMe did for the price. A Picture Parenting genetic kit is $295 for one person and I paid $199 for a health and ancestry report from 23andMe (see below).

    23andme.com

    Everything taken into consideration, I know I can't exactly compare the two tests equally. Picture Parenting is aimed toward family planning, focusing on testing common genetic conditions that individuals may pass on to their kids, and 23andMe is geared toward learning more about yourself and your future health. If you're considering taking an at-home genetic test for family planning purposes only, then it's worth it to look into Picture Parenting — or to ask your doctor what their thoughts are. If you are shopping around for other genetic kits, Business Insider made this list of their top at-home genetic kits last year.

    If you would like to learn more about Picture Parenting, you can visit their website.

    This kit was sent free of charge, but BuzzFeed was under no obligation to review it.

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