Helix Platform Consent

Last Updated: July 18, 2017

When you use Helix, you put your trust in us. Our goal is for you to always feel informed, empowered, and respected during your Helix experience.

We’ve written this Platform Consent to help you make sense of what using the Helix Platform means. It tells you the benefits, risks, and limitations of using the Helix Platform. Please take the time to read it with care.

If you have questions, we’re here to help! If you have any questions, you can contact us or call 1-844-211-2070.

You must be 18 or older to use the Helix Platform. You must also live in the US. You can also find more details about Helix and the Helix Platform here:

Important terms

Any terms we don’t define here are defined in our Terms of Service.

  • DNA Products: Products and services that use portions of your DNA. They are featured on the Helix Platform. While Helix may make some, most are made by our Partners.
  • Exome+: The type of testing that Helix performs on your DNA. It includes the part that codes for the proteins that tell your body how to function, or your exome. It also includes other DNA regions that are useful for some DNA Products.
  • Genetic Information: Your sequenced DNA. We derive it from your saliva sample and store it for you to use with DNA Products.
  • Helix: Us! When you see the words “we,” “us,” or “our,” we’re talking about Helix.
  • Helix marketplace: Where we feature DNA Products.
  • Helix Platform: The Helix marketplace plus the process we use to sequence and store your Genetic Information.
  • Partners: Other groups that make DNA Products for the Helix Platform. They include medical centers, consumer brands, patient foundations, and more!
  • Self-Reported Information: Other details about you that aren’t a part of your DNA. It may include details about your health, family tree, lifestyle, and behaviors.

Purpose of the Helix Platform

Helix was founded to empower every person to improve their life through their DNA.

To that end, Helix provides the Helix Platform. It features a number of DNA Products that can give you insights about yourself. Some of them also offer you services based on those insights. There are many types of DNA Products on the Helix Platform. Each type can give you certain kinds of insights.

You can use the Helix Platform to browse and buy DNA Products. Over time, new DNA Products will be added to the Helix Platform. You can buy as many (or as few) of these products as you want. Before you buy a product, you’ll be informed what you can expect to learn from it. You’ll also learn what information will be shared with the Partner who created it.

Using the Helix Platform

Collecting your DNA

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix collect your DNA from your saliva. Helix only accepts saliva samples. We do not accept other types of samples. To use the Helix Platform, you must first receive a Helix DNA Kit. You must follow the online instructions to send your saliva to Helix.

– Sequencing your DNA

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix sequence your DNA. We sequence your DNA in our own state-of-the-art lab. (Helix will then store your Genetic Information in our secure system.) Our lab is licensed by the State of California, CLIA-certified, and CAP Accredited. Meeting those standards helps us sequence your DNA in ways that are both accurate and reliable.

– Getting genetic insights

You choose the DNA Products you want to buy through the Helix Platform. When you buy a DNA Product, you choose to learn about the portions of your Genetic Information that it looks at.

Each DNA Product you buy will:

  • Use portions of your Genetic Information to offer you insights about yourself.
  • Tell you what you can expect to receive from the product.
  • Ask you to allow Helix to share the portions of your Genetic Information for the product.
  • Ask you to give your consent for that product to look at your Genetic Information.
  • Ask you to share some basic details about you, like your age, sex, and email address.

To use a DNA Product, you must allow Helix to share portions of your Genetic Information with the Partner who made it. Helix will share the portions that the Partner needs to offer you their product(s) and make improvements over time. By giving your consent here, you agree to this sharing.

You can ask Helix to stop sharing your information with a given DNA Product. You can do so through your Account Settings. Even so, stopping sharing doesn’t close your account with that product. To close that account, you can contact the Partner who made that product.

When we sequence your Genetic Information, we subsidize the cost to allow you to access new insights. If you’d like to download all of your Genetic Information, please read our FAQs and contact Customer Care.

– Giving other information

The Helix Platform may also ask for your Self-Reported Information. This information could improve the insights you get from DNA Products. It could also support other tools and services through the Helix Platform.

Whether you share Self-Reported Information with Helix is up to you. When you buy a DNA Product, Helix may share some of this information with the Partner to improve your product experience. The Partner will ask for your consent to use this information when you buy their product. Some DNA Products need this information to function. You control whether you want to share that information with Partners by buying their product(s).

– Improving the Helix Platform

Helix strives to giving you current, reliable, and high-quality experiences. We will use the information you give us to improve the Helix Platform. We may do so with our quality control methods. Some of these methods may focus on how we sequence your DNA. Some of them may focus on how we store and send your Genetic Information. Some of them may focus on how you use the Helix Platform. All information used for quality control will be used only within Helix. To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix use your information for quality control.

Closing your Helix Account

You can stop using the Helix Platform at any time. You can also choose to close your Helix Account. More details about this can be found in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. If you close your Helix Account, neither you nor Partners can access your information. We cannot restore your account if you close it. If you wish to buy new DNA Products after you close your account, you will need to create a new Helix Account. To do so, you will also need to send in a new saliva sample. When you close your account, we will archive your information. We will keep it archived for as long as we must to meet our legal and regulatory requirements.

Benefits

We intend for you to benefit from the Helix Platform. You can do so by learning insights about yourself from your DNA. These insights may be helpful for your health, wellness, family planning, curiosity, education, and more. How you benefit may change as your interests, needs, and motivations change through your life. How you benefit may also change as new DNA Products are added to the Helix Platform. You may benefit in ways that we can’t predict today.

Risks

There are some risks that come with using the Helix Platform.

Through a DNA Product, you could learn something about yourself that you didn’t want to know. For instance, you could find out that you were adopted. You could also find out something that concerns you about your health. Since you share DNA with your blood relatives, these learnings could also affect them. You may want to discuss your options with your doctor, a mental health professional, or a genetic counselor before or after you get your results.

Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, (GINA), no employer with at least fifteen workers can ask for your Genetic Information. Neither can any health insurer. However this does not apply to other groups, such as the US military or companies that offer life, long-term care, or disability insurance. Some states have safeguards for those types of insurance. You should be aware of the laws in your state and be careful with whom you choose to share your Genetic Information. Please see our FAQs for more details.

There is a risk of a security event in which an unauthorized person may access your data. These data could include your name, contact details, or Genetic Information. Helix takes active steps to reduce the risk of such an event. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

Helix may need to share details about you with regulators and law enforcement. These details may include your Genetic Information. We will only share these details if we are compelled by law to do so. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

Lastly, each DNA Product has its own risks, benefits, and limitations. The Helix Platform will give you some details about each DNA Product. Partners give more in-depth details about each DNA Product through their Product Consents. You should carefully weigh the risks, benefits, and limitations of each product you choose to buy. You may way want to talk with a genetic counselor. Some DNA Products may give you access to genetic counselors as part of what they offer.

Limitations

The Helix Platform has some limitations. Some of these are unique to Helix. Some are related to genetic testing in general. Many of these are also discussed in our Terms of Service.

Helix reads and stores your Exome+. At this time, Helix does not read or store your whole genome. Some of the DNA that Helix does not read could be needed for certain insights.

Your Genetic Information cannot tell you everything about yourself. Most traits are due to a mix of your DNA and other factors. These could include your lifestyle, your environment, or chance.

Genetics is a field that is growing quickly. Scientists are always learning new knowledge about what DNA can tell us. They are also learning that some older knowledge about DNA is not valid. DNA Products are based on the current state of knowledge. They may not yet be able to give insights for some parts of your DNA. They may also change their results in the future.

Though not likely, your Genetic Information stored by Helix could have some errors. In some cases, errors can occur when we sequence your DNA or read the stored Genetic Information. Helix has many quality control steps in place to find errors when they occur.

In some cases, we may not be able to sequence your DNA for technical reasons. There may also be other reasons, such as a bone marrow transplant, missing/extra sections of DNA, or not having enough DNA in your saliva.

It’s possible that some or all of your Genetic Information will not meet our quality standards. In that case, some or all DNA Products won’t be able to use your Genetic Information. These DNA Products will not be available to you.

Questions about the Helix Platform

You may have questions about Helix, the Helix Platform, or your use of it. If you do, you can contact Helix Customer Care here or call 1-844-211-2070.