Who am I?
That’s a basic question we all ask of ourselves. Our identity consists of many factors including character, personality, health, ancestry, profession, and role. And today science offers opportunities to easily investigate further in ways that only a few years ago were not accessible for the masses.
Providers offer testing for genetics, ancestry, and combinations of the two. Taking advantage of a Black Friday special, I sent for one of those combination kits. I don’t expect any surprises. My mother conducted extensive research into our family genealogy. And I doubt I have any hereditary tendencies toward diseases. Although I have several health issues, I believe them to be due to stress.
So why am going to submit to testing? I’m still curious of the test results and may be able to pass on some information to my children. I’m most comfortable with in-depth research on any story, including my own.
If you are contemplating doing the same, choosing a test company can be daunting. There are dozens out there including Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and CRI Genetics. Honestly, I chose one that my son found interesting. But there are a few factors to consider.
First decide if you are interested in knowing more about your ancestry, your genetic make-up, or both. Then read about the companies that offer the tests you are interested in. Where are they located? How do they secure personal information? How advanced is their technology? How many genetic markers do they test? And what do reviewers say about their results?
Such testing may provide you with connections to relatives you did not know before, inform you of potential health issues that you may be able to avoid with a healthy lifestyle, or eliminate uncertainty surrounding your family health risks.
But the answers you receive may come with an emotional as well as financial price. You also may discover information about your ancestry or genetics that you’d rather not have known.
Keep in mind that just because a health risk is revealed it does not mean you will definitely develop it. The tests merely offer opportunities to be proactive and seek professional guidance in avoiding or handling the outcome more fully.
What are your feelings about these tests? Are you interested in doing them yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(Photo includes my great-grandmother–4th woman in the top row–my great-aunts, great-uncle, and grandfather, John Doyle, who is on the right.)
(Do you follow my other blog, Mary K Doyle Books?)