Challenging the Current Recommendations for Carrier Testing in Children

Pediatrics. 2019 Jan;143(Suppl 1):S27-S32. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-1099F.


The authors of current professional guidelines generally do not support the return of information about genetic carrier status for infants and children because of a perceived lack of immediate benefit and an abundance of caution regarding potential harm and desire to protect the children's future autonomy. The advent of genomic sequencing, used either as a diagnostic or a screening tool, and the increasing use of this technology in childhood creates the potential for the identification of carrier status in the pediatric period. As part of the BabySeq Project, researchers are exploring the implications of genomic sequencing in both newborns who are healthy and newborns who are sick and developing policies and procedures for the return of carrier status information to the parents and physicians of newborns. In this commentary, we review the history of carrier testing in children and explore the potential benefits, risks, and challenges of returning such results both for the children, their parents, and potential future siblings.

Trial registration: NCT02422511.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genetic Carrier Screening*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Harm Reduction
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Parents
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Siblings
  • Truth Disclosure*

Associated data