Genetic tests for hereditary genetic conditions should be more widely available before pregnancy, the government's advisory body on genetics has said.

The Human Genetics Commission report said there are "no specific social, ethical or legal principles" against pre-pregnancy screening.

Preconception tests currently take place in people who know they have a family history of genetic illness, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. Yet the report recommends that everyone should have the opportunity for screening.

Lead researcher Dr Frances Flinter, said: "People should be told about the availability of testing and the sort of information that can generate, but not specifically encouraged to have the tests, because it's important that people make the decision themselves as to whether they want to get access to that sort of information."

Posted by Robert Mair on 7.4.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com