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Adoptees who lack access to family health history — which includes genetic, behavioral and environmental factors in families — could get information through targeted genetic testing, according to a Genetics in Medicine report published in April.

Adoptees account for more than 2.5% of the U.S. population, or 7.8 million people, according to U.S. Census data from 2000. Although some adoptees have access to family health history, many do not. One study found that for adoptees in general, medical information was available for less than half of birth fathers. “For international adoptees (currently one-quarter of adoptions), this problem is exacerbated not only by logistical difficulties, but also by well-established problems surrounding the limitations of medical records in many countries from which international adoptions occur,” researchers stated. “For nearly two-thirds of international adoptees, no written medical records exist, even for basic things such as vaccination status.”

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