Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

ACOG Discourages Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2017 Nov; ACOG

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing should be discouraged because of potential harm of a misinterpreted or inaccurate result, and because ordering an appropriate genetic test and interpretation of genetic test results are complex, an obstetrician-gynecologist or other health care provider with knowledge of genetics should be involved in ordering and interpreting the results of any genetic test with medical implications. This according to new recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on consumer testing for disease risk. Among the other ACOG recommendations:

  • Given the insufficient data to support the use of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) testing for medical purposes, SNP testing to provide individual risk assessment for a variety of diseases or to tailor drug therapy outside of an institutional review board-approved research protocol is not recommended.
  • When undergoing any direct-to-consumer genetic testing, the consumer should be apprised of risk from screening or susceptibility test results that can neither prove nor eliminate disease potential.
  • Consumers should be aware of privacy concerns before undergoing direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing.
  • When an individual presents test results to a health care provider from a direct-to-consumer genomic test that putatively assesses the risk of specific diseases, the patient should be referred to an obstetrician–gynecologist or other health care provider who is skilled in risk assessment for the diseases of interest and interpretation of genetic testing results in the context of the individual’s relevant medical and family history.
  • There currently are no standard clinical indications for the use of pharmacogenetic testing in the routine practice of obstetrics and gynecology.


Consumer testing for disease risk. Committee Opinion No. 724. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130:e270–3.