How Long Does a DNA Test Take

How Long Does a DNA Test Take and Other Genetic Testing Questions

More and more people are opting for genetic testing, also known as a DNA test, in order to learn more about their health. But what exactly is genetic testing? How long does a DNA test take, and why is it becoming so popular?

Genetic testing is a process of analyzing DNA, the inheritable material that makes up our genes. By looking at specific sections of DNA, we can learn more about our genetic makeup. This information can be used to predict a person’s risk for certain diseases or conditions, as well as their likelihood of passing those conditions on to their children.

People get genetic testing for a variety of reasons. Most are interested in finding out if they have a higher risk for certain diseases or sensitivity to some medications. Others simply want to satisfy their curiosity about their own genetics. 

Whatever the reason, genetic testing can provide valuable information about a person’s health so that they can make knowledgeable decisions for their health care.

What Can You Discover via Genetic Testing?

Depending on the test being carried out, your DNA can reveal a whole host of information about you. These tests can show whether you have a specific illness, are a carrier of a particular gene, how you will respond to certain drugs, and if you are at high risk of developing a disorder, such as:

  • Turner Syndrome
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Down Syndrome
  • Noonan Syndrome
  • Celiac Disease
  • Some Cancers

Genetic testing can also provide information on family relationships. For example, paternity and maternity tests can be used to confirm or deny biological relationships. Some DNA tests are also used to help you discover your ancestry.

What Is the Process for Taking a DNA Test?

To undertake any form of genetic testing, you will need to provide a sample of your DNA. There are a few methods in which your DNA will be collected for this purpose:

  • Mouth swab: Also known as a Buccal smear, a cotton swab is rubbed along the inside of your cheek to collect saliva and cells.
  • Blood test: A needle is used to draw blood from your arm or heel if from a baby.
  • Prenatal testing: There are certain genetic tests that can be done during pregnancy. Depending on the test needed and its collection requirements, one of the following will be carried out:
    • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): A needle is used to collect a small sample of tissue from the placenta.
    • Amniocentesis: A needle is used to collect a sample of the amniotic fluid.

Once you have provided your sample, it will be sent to a laboratory for analysis, where they will use a variety of processes to determine the sequence of your DNA. But, how long does a DNA test take?

How Long Does a DNA Test Take?

The time required to complete a DNA test can vary depending on the type of test being performed. Many people may think that genetic testing is as simple as a routine blood count, but this is far from the truth.

Our DNA is unique, and the testing which is done to check for any genetic abnormalities is highly complex. Given how the outcome can be life-changing for an individual, it is understandable that the process can take some time.

The simple answer to how long a DNA test takes is: it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few months. Your doctor will be able to advise how long it typically takes for your specific test results to return.

What to Expect: Test Results

So, you have provided a sample of your DNA and know the answer to ‘how long does a DNA test take,’ but what can you expect when the results come back? 

There are three possible outcomes from any genetic test. Your doctor will go through the results with you and explain what they mean.

Positive Result

A positive result means that you have a genetic mutation that is associated with an increased risk of developing a particular disease. It can also show if you are a carrier of the gene. A positive outcome does not guarantee that you will develop the disease or pass it to your child, but it does mean that there is an increased chance.

Negative Result

A negative result means that there was no evidence of a genetic change based on the test which was carried out. While you may receive a negative test, it is still possible to develop the disorder as there are many other factors that can contribute to the development of a disease.

Inconclusive Result

An inconclusive result is one where the test was unable to give a definite answer. There may not be enough evidence of a genetic change to make a conclusive decision, and more testing may be required.

Does Health Insurance Cover DNA Testing?

There are instances where insurance companies will cover the cost of genetic testing, but this is not always the case. Some companies will only offset the cost of testing if it is recommended by a physician and for a specific reason. For example, if you have a family history of a particular illness or disorder.

You should check with your insurance company to see if they cover the cost of testing, as well as any related expenses such as doctor’s visits, before proceeding with any testing.

Final Thoughts: How Long Does a DNA Test Take and Other Genetic Testing Questions

Many people opt to undertake genetic testing for a variety of reasons. In doing so, the results can help you to make smart, informed decisions about both your health and for any children you may have.

As for querying how long does a DNA test take, genetic testing is a complex process and the wait time can vary based on the test taken. Your doctor will be able to advise you of this information and provide you with concise guidance throughout the process tailored to your specific situation.
The Center for Optimal Repair and Recovery (CORR) is an exclusive, members-only service providing access to innovative therapies based on the most recent research and medical discoveries, including genetic testing. If you’re interested in learning more about how CORR can help you with your genetic testing needs, click here to schedule a time to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members.