Statement of the ESHG on direct-to-consumer genetic testing for health-related purposes

Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Dec;18(12):1271-3. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.129. Epub 2010 Aug 25.


Many private companies offer direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing services. Some tests may detect severe and highly penetrant monogenic disorders, while other tests are for genetic variants found associated with increased susceptibility for common and complex diseases in large-scale population studies. Through its Public and Professional Policy committee followed by member and expert consultation, the European Society of Human Genetics has developed the following policy on advertising and provision of predictive genetic tests by such DTC companies: (1) clinical utility of a genetic test shall be an essential criterion for deciding to offer this test to a person or a group of persons; (2) laboratories providing genetic tests should comply with accepted quality standards, including those regarding laboratory personnel qualifications; (3) information about the purpose and appropriateness of testing should be given before the test is done; (4) genetic counselling appropriate to the type of test and disease should be offered; and for some tests psychosocial evaluation and follow-up should be available; (5) privacy and confidentiality of sensitive genetic information should be secured and the data safely guarded; (6) special measures should be taken to avoid inappropriate testing of minors and other legally incapacitated persons; (7) all claims regarding genetic tests should be transparent; advertisement should be unbiased and marketing of genetic tests should be fair; (8) in biomedical research, health care and marketing, respect should be given to relevant ethical principles, as well as international treaties and recommendations regarding genetic testing; and (9) nationally approved guidelines considering all the above-mentioned aspects should be made and followed.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / standards
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Europe
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Privacy
  • Genetic Testing / economics
  • Genetic Testing / ethics
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genetic Testing / standards*
  • Genetics, Medical*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Minors
  • Societies, Medical*