Genetic discrimination occurs when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because they have or are perceived to have a gene mutation that causes or increases the risk of an inherited disorder. People who undergo genetic testing may be at risk for genetic discrimination.
The results of a genetic test are normally included in a person's medical records. When a person applies for life, disability, or health insurance, in some countries the insurance company may ask to look at these records before making a decision about coverage. An employer may also have the right to look at an employee's medical records. As a result, genetic test results could affect a person's insurance coverage or employment. People making decisions about genetic testing should be aware that when test results are placed in their medical records, the results might not be kept private.
Fear of discrimination is a concern among people considering genetic testing. Several countries have laws that help protect people against genetic discrimination; however, genetic testing is a fast-growing field and these laws don't cover every situation.
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