Comprehensive, actionable carrier screening
Horizon carrier screening helps couples determine the risk of passing on serious genetic conditions to their child. It can be performed either preconception (ideally) or during pregnancy.
- Carrier screening overview
- Ordering, Sample Requirements & Logistics
- Results & Reports
- Cost & Billing
What is Horizon carrier screening?
Every one of us is a carrier for at least one changed gene that, if inherited in a double dose, could cause a genetic disorder in our children. These disorders are rare and usually there is no family history, although certain disorders are more common in certain ethnic groups. For most of these conditions, both parents have to be carriers for their children to be at risk (these are called autosomal recessive disorders). Others are inherited from a mother who is a carrier (these are called X-linked disorders) and mainly affect boys. Testing to see if you or your partner are carriers for genetic disorders is your choice, but this is testing that is usually offered to all women who are thinking about becoming pregnant, or who are already pregnant. Horizon carrier screening offers testing for many of the most common genetic disorders. You can choose to be tested for only 1 or 2 disorders or for as many as 274!
Who should have Horizon carrier screening?
Anyone who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy can have Horizon carrier screening. Additionally, people who are thinking about donating eggs or sperm usually have carrier screening. Ask your doctor or genetic counselor if Horizon carrier screening is right for you. Please note this testing is not available to minors in some cases. Horizon carrier screening for X-linked disorders is limited to female patients.
When should I have Horizon carrier screening?
Many couples consider having carrier screening before they become pregnant. If they are found to be at risk to have a child with a genetic disorder, they could choose to use in vitro fertilization, test the embryos for the disorder, and only transfer embryos predicted to be unaffected. If a woman is already pregnant, she and her partner can have Horizon carrier screening at any time. Most couples are found to be at decreased risk to have a child with a serious genetic disorder. Couples who are at increased risk have the opportunity to learn about the condition and plan for next steps such as prenatal diagnostic testing.
What are the benefits of having Horizon carrier screening?
Horizon can help you and your partner learn about the chance to have a child with a genetic disease before or during pregnancy. Many people do not know they are a carrier for an inherited genetic disease until they have an affected child. While there is no test that can screen for all possible genetic diseases or birth defects, genetic carrier screening can give you information to make reproductive choices that are right for you and your family.
Why doesn’t Horizon screen men for X-linked conditions?
A man cannot be a carrier of an X-linked condition because men possess only one X chromosome. Horizon is a carrier screening test, not a diagnostic test. A man who suspects he is affected by an X-linked condition should talk to a health provider about diagnostic testing. Learn more about the basics of genetics.
Do I need to have carrier screening more than once?
Carrier screening is usually done once as your carrier status for a specific condition typically does not change. Depending on what you have been screened for in the past, your doctor or genetic counselor may recommend additional carrier screening for more conditions. So, it is possible to have carrier screening more than once. Ask your doctor or genetic counselor to find out what’s best for you.
What if I have a family history of genetic disease?
It is important to tell your healthcare provider about your family history. They may suggest you meet with a genetic counselor to review your history and discuss options for further testing. A Horizon carrier screen may be suggested as one way to see if your family history is a risk factor for your children.
What is the chance I could have an affected child if I am a carrier?
If you and your partner are both carriers for the same recessive genetic disease, you have a 1 in 4, or 25%, chance of having an affected child in each pregnancy. If a woman is a carrier of an X-linked disease, she has up to a 50% chance of having an affected child in each pregnancy.
Who can I talk to to learn more about carrier screening?
You can ask your doctor or a genetic counselor to learn more about carrier screening. You can ask your doctor to refer you to a local genetic counselor, or find one in your area through the National Society of Genetic Counselors at www.nsgc.org. Natera has board-certified genetic counselors that are available by telephone to answer questions about Horizon carrier screening. Please call 844-778-4700 or go online to our Patient Portal to schedule a genetic information session with a board-certified genetic counselor at Natera.
What should I be screened for?
Some genetic conditions are more common in people of certain ethnic backgrounds so your ethnicity and family history should be taken into account. But it is very important to remember that MOST carriers for genetic conditions do not have a family history. Your doctor or genetic counselor can help you decide which Horizon carrier screening panel is right for you.
Do I have to have the full Horizon carrier screening panel?
No. Your doctor can order Cystic Fibrosis, SMA, and Tay-Sachs Enzyme individually. Your doctor can also choose from several Horizon screening panels in which a number of diseases are screened for at the same time.
What type of sample do I need to submit?
Natera accepts blood or saliva samples. In general, blood samples make more DNA available to the laboratory, but most people receive reliable results from saliva.
Can my partner and I get screened at the same time?
You and your partner are welcome to have carrier screening at the same time. This should lessen the wait time for results if one partner is found to be a carrier and your doctor recommends the other partner have screening also. Remember, for autosomal recessive conditions, both partners must be carriers for the SAME condition in order to be at risk of having an affected child. Another choice is for the female partner to have carrier screening first. If she is found to be a carrier, then the male partner can be screened for the same condition. Your doctor or genetic counselor can recommend what’s best for you.
How long do the results take to get back to me?
Your results are sent to your doctor in about two weeks.
How will I know when my results are available?
Your doctor will usually call you and let you know that they have received the results. They may tell you the results over the phone or ask you to come into their office.
How are the results reported?
On the front page of your Horizon results report, there will be a summary box. Your results will be provided in that box. Your result may say “CARRIER for” and then the specific disease name next to it. The summary also includes the mutation or variant you carry as well as some information about the risk to have an affected child. If a variant is not found in any of the genes screened for on your Horizon test, your results will say “NEGATIVE.” This means that we did not detect any disease causing variants for which you were screened. While your risk for having a child with one of these conditions is significantly decreased, Horizon, like other carrier screens, does not screen for all possible variants.
Who can I talk to about my Horizon carrier screening results?
You can ask your doctor or your genetic counselor to learn more about your Horizon carrier screening results. If you have specific questions about your results, Natera’s board-certified genetic counselors are available by telephone for a genetic information session. Please call 844-778-4700 or go online to Natera’s Patient Portal to schedule an appointment. Most appointments are 15-30 minutes in length.
What is the cost of the Horizon carrier screen?
The amount that you will personally be responsible to pay for the Horizon carrier screen depends upon many factors including: the type of carrier screening panel selected as well as your specific insurance coverage. To understand your financial responsibility, please call Natera at 844-778-4700 or visit our pricing and billing information page. You may be eligible for a payment plan and/or assistance for financial hardship*. *Not everyone may qualify. Void where prohibited.
Does my insurance cover the Horizon carrier screen?
Insurance coverage for Horizon is contingent on your health insurance plan and coverage benefits. Please call Natera at 844-778-4700 in order to verify and check your insurance coverage options. Click here to see in-network plans.
What is an insurance deductible?
Your insurance deductible is the amount you owe for health care services your health insurance or plan covers before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $2,000, you will need to pay $2,000 out of pocket before your insurance begins to cover your health care expenses. If you have not met your deductible by the time you have your Horizon carrier screen, you may be required to pay some expenses out of pocket. Click here to see in-network plans.
How do I pay my bill?
Please call Natera at 844-778-4700 in order to settle your balance.
Does Natera offer payment plans for the Horizon carrier screen?
Yes, Natera offers payments plans starting as low as $25/month*. Please call Natera at 844-778-4700 to check eligibility and payment plan options. *Not everyone may qualify. Void where prohibited.
What is an EOB and what amount will it include?
An EOB is NOT a bill. EOB stands for Explanation of Benefits and describes how your insurance plan pays for your test and if there is any additional amount that you may be responsible for. The EOB typically precedes your bill. If you have any questions about your EOB, please call a Natera billing specialist at 844-778-4700.