Some direct-to-consumer services offer testing to determine if you are a carrier for a specific genetic condition, such as sickle cell anemia. Conditions like these are inherited in a recessive manner, meaning both parents must be carriers in order to have a child with the condition.
“Something that is inherited may be passed down from generation to generation,” Huggins says. “Because each individual’s genetic makeup is a combination of their mother’s and father’s DNA, there are several patterns in which a condition may be passed.”
Because these mail-order genetic testing services only test for a limited number of variants, they cannot tell you for certain that you do not carry a gene for a particular inherited condition.
Moreover, if you are a carrier, this does not mean that you will necessarily pass on the mutation.