Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

23andMe Under Attack

23This affordable genetic testing company has recently come under attack in the media as the FDA has warned them to stop marketing the test. Their reasoning is that it could prompt people to take drastic measures after getting their results, such as leading consumers to undergo mastectomies if the test says they are at risk for breast cancer. The FDA claims that 23andMe genetic testing has not been approved as “reliable,” and they have concerns about how the results may be interpreted by the average person. Many supporters would argue that no self-respecting doctor would perform such a surgery based on one test nor would most people suddenly stop taking their medicine without first consulting their doctor.

In fact, 23andMe test results often lead to more open conversations between patients and doctors. It has also provided many parents with a “jumping off” point when they can’t get doctors to run genetic tests for their sick children.

Such is the case for my son. When my son was diagnosed with Autism, I was told that his facial features did not indicate any genetic problems and that if we wanted to continue with genetic testing, there would be fees associated. We could not afford these fees. Several years later, my son was getting sicker with strange symptoms such as a carnitine deficiency and respiratory issues that would come and go and many other indicators of a mitochondrial disorder. The doctor would not order a genetic test, and the only way we could afford to pay for one without insurance was through 23andMe.

Now we have my son’s results, which do indeed indicate a mitochondrial disorder. Thanks to 23andMe, we can take these results to the doctor and specialists to come up with a treatment plan and open the door for more discussion on how to help my son thrive.

– Jessica

Jessica is a homeschooling mom to three rambunctious boys, one of whom has autism.  She lives with her husband, the lazy dog, and her sons in Washington state.

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