Carrier screening for cystic fibrosis

blood-samplesCystic fibrosis (CF)  is a serious inherited disease that affects the lungs and makes it hard to digest food.

In the United States, about 1 out of every 3,500 babies is born with CF. It is most common among people who are white.

CF carrier screening tests identify men and women who carry an abnormal gene for CF. This means that their babies might inherit the disease.

To inherit cystic fibrosis, a child must receive two abnormal CF genes, one from each parent. A CF carrier is a healthy person who has one normal CF gene and one abnormal CF gene.

Health care providers routinely offer a carrier screening test to men and women who have a family history of CF. Many providers also offer the test to all couples who are planning pregnancy or are pregnant. Couples must decide for themselves if testing is right for them.

To take the test, men and women provide a blood or saliva sample.

An improved carrier screening test was recently announced. It can detect 39 genetic mutations that can lead to CF.

For more info about CF and carrier screening, talk to your health care provider.

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