April 18, 2020
Why Take an At-Home DNA Test? Most Say ‘Curiosity’
A graphic representation of DNA analysisSource: Adobe Stock
Whether you’ve heard of them through an ad on TV, or a loved one gushing about how they didn’t know they have a sliver of DNA from another part of the world, more than 26 million individuals have taken an at-home DNA test as of last year.
At-home DNA tests can reveal information about your lineage, potential health risks, and serve as an interesting gift for a family member, but there have been recent concerns over the privacy and accuracy of these tests.
Notwithstanding these caveats, a recent Your DNA study reveals most individuals had positive experiences taking an at-home DNA test, and many of them went on to make beneficial lifestyle changes because of their results.
A Bit of Context…
A variety of ancestry companies offer at-home DNA tests for about $99 (give or take). Individuals send a sample of their saliva to be analyzed in a lab, then the results are made accessible to the individual online.
Your DNA Survey
Reactions to DNA Genetic Health Test Results infographic by Your DNASource: DNA Discoveries | Your DNA
Your DNA surveyed 1,000 individuals about their experiences taking at-home DNA tests and found most individuals took the test out of curiosity.
“A quick saliva sample can reveal vital information about your health, including your chances of developing a hereditary disease and mutations that may affect future children,” the study says. “But of all the reasons behind genetic testing, curiosity was the biggest driver. While only 9 percent of people took an at-home DNA genetic health test to see whether they should have children, 60 percent did so because they were curious.”
42 percent of individuals were relieved by their test results, but 30 percent were “concerned” by unexpected information the test revealed.
Either way, 92 percent of responders said they were glad to learn more about their health conditions.
Sharing the DNA Health Results
Although most individuals shared the health results of their DNA test with their significant other, 28 percent of men and 16 percent of women kept the information to themselves.
“Shockingly, one in 10 people said their significant other broke up with them after they shared their results,” the study adds. “But a relationship ending may be less about the disease (or marker) and more about what it means. Every relationship comes with some fear of loss, but in new relationships specifically, knowledge about future health can magnify that fear.”
Additionally, 10 percent of responders said the results of their DNA test affected their desire to have children. 23 percent of parents said they had their child tested after taking the test themselves, and an additional 27 percent of parents said they planned to have their child’s DNA health tested.
On The Bright Side…
Positive Changes After Learning About Genetic Health infographic by Your DNASource: DNA Discoveries | Your DNA
Many responders were inspired to make healthier lifestyle choices following the results of their DNA health test, including:
- Exercise more: 49 percent
- Limiting processed foods and sugar: 43 percent
- Reducing consumption of red meat: 30 percent
- Sleeping more: 23 percent
- Visiting the doctor more regularly: 20 percent
Additionally, about 10 percent of responders left a high-stress occupation because of their results.
“28 percent of DNA genetic health test-takers made health more of a priority after reviewing their results,” the study explains. “27 percent of DNA ancestry test-takers made family more of a priority after reviewing their results.”
Sharing the DNA Ancestry Results
78 percent of responders said they learned at least “some” new information about their lineage following a DNA ancestry test and 40 percent said the information contradicted what they’d been told by their family.
Furthermore, about 25 percent said they reached out to an estranged family member after reviewing their ancestry results.
“However, people are still wary of learning about ancestry through testing,” the study says. “While the majority of people who hadn’t taken a DNA test said it was because they were too expensive, nearly 40 percent said it was because they distrusted companies having their information.”
At-home DNA tests can help you learn more about yourself and your family with just a little spit and some postage.
While 75 percent of responders said they were confident in the health results and 79 percent said they were confident in the ancestry results of their DNA tests, the study advises taking these tests with a grain of salt.
“But at-home DNA tests should not be trusted completely,” the study concludes. “False positives and negatives are possible, and while most people have had positive experiences with at-home kits, you can never be too careful when it comes to health screenings. Picking a reputable, CLIA-certified test, staying informed of the risks, and getting a second opinion in the event of a positive result is the best way to make the most of DNA testing.”
You can read the full study here or contact Your DNA for guidance on which type of DNA test is right for you. Your DNA can also help you interpret your test results. After all, there’s no need for you to go on your “genetic journey” alone.
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