Topic Overview

The decision to have genetic tests may bring up ethical, legal, and religious issues.

  • The discovery of a genetic disease may have legal implications. The discovery of a genetic disease that is not causing symptoms now (such as breast cancer or Huntington's disease) should not affect your future ability to get hired for a job. But it may affect your ability to get private insurance. Results will not affect your health coverage under your provincial health plan. For more information on the risks of genetic discrimination in Canada, talk with your doctor or contact the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness at 1-800-998-7398. Or visit its website at
  • Genetic tests may find a serious disease in a fetus that will greatly impact the child's life and the lives of his or her caregivers. If you are pregnant and are thinking about genetic tests, you may want to think about your own ethical, social, and religious beliefs. What might you do if the tests find a problem?
  • A genetic test result is sensitive information. The results should remain confidential. They should only be released to those who are authorized to receive them.

If you are thinking about having genetic tests, be sure that you clearly understand what effect the test results could have. Genetic counselling can help you think through the decision.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017