How To Know If At-Home Genetic Testing Is For You

October 26, 2022


One of the most common questions we hear at JScreen is some version of, “Are you sure that I don’t need to get my blood drawn?” The answer is yes! The DNA that comes from blood is the same as the DNA from saliva, so the accuracy of both types of tests is the same.


It used to be that if you wanted genetic testing, you would have to make an appointment at the genetic counselor, potentially wait for an available appointment, and end up with a blood draw. But at-home testing via saliva has been a game-changer. Here are the benefits:


1. Convenience: you can now fit genetic testing and counseling into your schedule by ordering your saliva kit, providing your sample, and scheduling a results appointment with a genetic counselor when it works for you. JScreen offers counseling services on nights and weekends for those who are not available during typical business hours.

2. Privacy:  those who want to keep a low profile and are concerned about privacy and confidentiality no longer need to worry that others will know they are getting tested.  Of course, it should be noted that most professional medical offices do their best to ensure privacy between patients.

3. Accessibility: people who live far from genetic counselors can still get the same quality genetics services with at-home testing. Also, family members for whom testing is recommended will have the same opportunities, regardless of their locations (as long as it’s within the US).


While there are many benefits to at-home testing, it is important to do your research before you choose where to get it done. Here are some important points to consider:


  • Be sure to use an at-home test that offers genetic counseling services, like JScreen. Genetic counseling is an essential part of the testing process and won’t leave you confused about what your results mean for you and your family.


  • The genetic testing should be comprehensive and current. Some direct-to-consumer testing companies offer very limited testing and the technology used can be outdated. Feel free to contact a JScreen genetic counselor if you’d like to know if further testing is recommended by emailing [email protected].


  • Know what type of testing you are getting. There are many at-home testing options on the market, such as those that will reveal your ancestry, genetic traits, paternity, and tendency to respond to certain medications. But such tests will not provide you with any information on your health or carrier status for conditions that could affect your offspring. Check to see what type of information the test will give you before ordering it.


At-home testing could be great for many people, but should be used with caution.  Before you order any test from home, make sure you know what the test will tell you. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help clarifying which at-home options are right for you.


JScreen is a non-profit, community-based public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative is a collaboration among clinical geneticists, socially minded businesses, and nonprofits to provide everyday people with a ready access point to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education, and genetic counseling services.