Consumers the results they receive. Since genetic testing can

Consumers should have the freedom of access to predictive genetic testing, however they should be heavily advised to seek advice from a genetic counselor before making any serious decisions, such as ending a pregnancy. The consumer should be aware that they are accountable for anything they decide to do based on the results they receive, and any tests done without a medical professional should be for educational purposes only. Genetic counselors are there to provide information and assist with decisions a person would make in their life depending on the results they receive. Since genetic testing can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to a thousand dollars, it would be appropriate to seek professional advice before and after obtaining results. The ABOUT study surveyed women who underwent BRCA testing showed that those who received genetic counseling were more informed than those who did not. They were also much more satisfied with the information and advice they had received prior to testing. Due to this, it is helpful to have a genetic counselor to educate consumers and educate them on available treatment options, but that does not mean it should be required because counseling does cost more and take up time. The study also showed that roughly half of the participants had no history of breast cancer, indicating that they were likely using the genetic test for educational purposes and did not intend to make any major choices in their life based on the test. A medical professional may not be necessary if a consumer wants to relieve uncertainty, get a better idea of their future, or simply learn more about themselves. It should be completely up to the consumer to decide whether a genetic counselor is worth the price and time, and whether they feel confident in the knowledge and guidance they already have.The effect that predictive genetic testing can have on major aspects of life makes it advisable- though not required- to have professional advice in certain cases. For example, one may choose to undergo predictive genetic testing for Huntington’s Disease to help with decisions involving career planning or reproductive choices. The results of such predictive testing may end up having a greater impact than one may expect. In REPOND-HD, a study conducted in 2006-2007 involving a majority of participants who tested positive for the mutant gene for Huntington’s Disease, almost 50% of the participants said they had experienced discrimination in some aspect of their life. The results can also take a toll on self esteem and reduce the one’s quality of life. Genetic counselling can help prepare a patient for such effects and make sure that the results are interpreted properly. They can assist the patient in picking the best time to test by assessing the patient’s emotional state, and can educate the patient such as by emphasizing the significance of a CAG count number in times of interpretation. It is possible for the patient to self educate themselves, and simply purchase a genetic test to interpret alone. This can save the patient hundreds of dollars and remove the difficulty of travelling to many centers for advise, however there is a greater room for misinterpretation. If results test positive, it can be difficult for the consumer to live with the fact that they are at high risk for a disease that has no treatment. This is where careful discussions of interpretation and follow up counselling is most useful. While a professional like a genetic counselor is not necessary to successfully test for a disease like Huntington’s, it is definitely helpful, which is why both options should be available to consumers. Predictive genetic testing without a professional is a minor risk for the consumer. This is mainly due to the absence of a professional physician who would have a more comprehensive view of the consumer’s family history and medical needs than a company would, and therefore would be able to provide the necessary guidance based on the results. Consumers should be free to purchase predictive information related to their genetics, as long as they confirm with a professional before making any critical decisions based on the results. All consumers must be made fully aware of the risks of the absence of a medical professional, and how to interpret their results. If they choose not to seek professional advice, any consequences would be their responsibility, however they should have the option to seek information about their own health in any way they want to.