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:
- 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 and interpretation of the data. 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 Platform: The Helix Store plus the process we use to collect, sequence, and store your Genetic Information.
- Helix Store: Where we feature DNA Products.
- 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
– Providing 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 use a Helix DNA Kit to send Helix a saliva sample. You must follow the online instructions to send us your saliva.
– Getting your DNA sequenced and analyzed
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
Helix may use your Genetic Information to produce insights for the DNA Products you use. You choose the DNA Products you want to use through the Helix Platform. When you use a DNA Product, you choose to learn about the portions of your Genetic Information that it needs.
Each DNA Product you use 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 give your consent for that product to look at portions of your Genetic Information.
- Ask you to share some basic details about you, like your age, sex, and email address.
To use one of our Partners’ DNA Products, you must allow Helix to share portions of your Genetic Information with the Partner who made that DNA Product. 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 DNA 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 about you
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).
– Helping improve the Helix Platform
Helix may use your Genetic or Self-Reported Information as part of a pooled data set. We call these data sets “Aggregated Genetic Information.” This kind of data set combines de-identified data from many Helix Users. These data sets would not include any details that make it easy to identify you. Helix may use these data sets for business or promotional purposes. To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix use your information as part of these data sets.
Helix strives to give you current, reliable, and high-quality experiences. As such, a key way that we will use Aggregated Genetic Information is 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.
– Taking part in research
You can choose to take part in our research, the Helix DNA Discovery Project. If you choose to take part, your Genetic Information and Self-reported Information would be used for research. You can find more details about the project in our Research Consent.
Closing your Helix Account
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s Customer Care here or call 1-844-211-2070.