Mountain View, CA – March 31, 2009 – 23andMe, Inc., an industry leader in personal genetics, announced today that it has launched a free pregnancy community and research initiative with the goal of connecting women together and making research discoveries that can lead to healthier and more enjoyable pregnancies for all women.
Moms of all ages are welcome to participate in the community. Pregnancy is a unifying event that connects women together at a special time in their lives. 23andMe aims to provide a forum enabling women to separate fact from fiction with a more dynamic, scientific approach. The 23andMe Pregnancy Community is central to the company’s goal of giving people personalized information about what the latest scientific and health-related research means for them. It empowers members to better understand their own pregnancies, make more informed choices for themselves and help 23andMe conduct research on serious complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
“We want to make pregnancy a better experience for all women. It frustrated me when I was pregnant that we didn’t have answers to many simple questions,” said 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki. “We should know at the onset of pregnancy if one is at risk for complications so they can try to prevent them. Our goal with this community is to empower moms and moms-to-be to connect and learn from each other but to also be part of a research initiative that could lead to a better understanding of pregnancy and more targeted preventive care.”
The 23andMe Pregnancy Community offers the following features to community members:
- Weekly Pregnancy Survey: Members can take a weekly survey that tracks things like morning sickness, weight gain, drug reactions, food cravings and major milestones of pregnancy, providing a valuable tool for recording their progress. Every week the survey reveals how other women at the same stage of pregnancy are answering the same questions, offering each member a unique perspective on her relationship to the rest of the community.
- Community Discussions: Members can join the forum and get answers to their questions from knowledgeable women who have been there. The forum covers everything from old wives’ tales and conventional wisdom to the latest research findings and practical solutions to common problems of pregnancy.
- Research Surveys: Members can take online surveys and help advance research in a range of conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and pre-term labor, while getting immediate feedback about how their experiences compare with those of the rest of the community.
Through the genetic research studies 23andMe plans to conduct, the company hopes to discover the genetic roots of pregnancy complications that could in turn lead to improved preventive care and healthier future pregnancies for women worldwide.
Dr. Thomas Musci, a San Francisco-based perinatologist, geneticist and consultant to 23andMe, commented: “Right now, we don’t know nearly as much as we could about the role genetics plays in health conditions affecting pregnant women. Discoveries in this area will be crucial in developing individualized plans for women to prevent, manage, and treat these conditions. I am excited and hopeful that the research conducted by 23andMe will lead to significant advancements in our understanding of the genomic basis of adverse pregnancy outcomes.”
Members who upgrade to the 23andMe Personal Genome Service, which costs $399, will receive additional information, including:
- Customized Genetic Reports: These reports show how individuals’ genes affect their risk for more than 100 different health conditions and inherited traits, including 15 that are specifically relevant to pregnant women.
- Ancestry Information: Members can explore their ancestry and discover where in the world their ancestors likely originated.
- Genetic Legacy: If relatives are genotyped as well, members can build a genetic family tree and see how their genes and traits have been passed down.
- Inheritance Calculator: Couples can see from their own genomes the possibilities of their child’s traits, such as eye color.
- Research: Members can make a substantial contribution to the 23andMe research mission by participating in genetic research studies.