Genetic Testing Kits: What to Ask

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What you need to know

If you’re thinking about purchasing a direct-to-consumer testing kit, make sure you understand the limitations. The National Society of Genetic Counselors recommends you ask these five questions.


Is the test accurate and reliable?

Ask whether the company has a team of experts such as certified genetic counselors, medical geneticists, pathologists, geneticists or biologists, and molecular pathologists.


What will the test tell me?

Understand what’s being tested—health conditions, ancestry, traits, or drug responses—and how the results will be communicated to you.


How will my personal information be protected?

Laws protect companies from sharing your data with your health insurers and employers, but they don’t restrict sharing with life, long-term care, or disability insurers. Ask whether data will be shared with researchers, drug companies, or other groups.


Are genetic counselors available to help me?

Look for a company that makes a specialist available before and after testing. Also ask if this service is included with the cost of testing.


What if I need more information about my test?

Make sure there’s a way to easily contact the company if you have follow-up questions.