What Is Genetic Counseling?
After a session with Genetic Counseling Services (GCS), you and your physician will receive a written telephone consultation Summary.
Depending on the Level of Service selected, this will provide you and your physician the tools for understanding:
- Your genetic risk
- Your options for testing, given your family structure
- The role, limits and capabilities of genetic testing
- Your insurance eligibility
- The role of other specialists in your healthcare
- How to locate and interpret standard –of-care medical recommendations
- Research studies and support services
If your history suggests that genetic testing would be helpful, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor or you might choose to seek out genetic counseling on your own. Genetic testing identifies the likelihood that certain genetic diseases or disorders might be passed on to your children. Some of the more familiar genetic disorders are:
- Down syndrome
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sickle cell disease
- Tay-Sachs disease
The Center for Medical Genetics is a team of providers experienced in genetics education and available for in-person counseling or via a TeleCounseling session.
What’s a genetic counselor?
A genetic counselor is a health care professional with a master’s degree in human genetics and counseling. This training enables genetic counselors to discuss technical genetic information in practical, useful terms. The Center for Medical Genetics’ genetic counselors are board certified or active candidates for certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. They are supervised by Medical Geneticists, who are available for in-person consultation as needed.
What happens during a prenatal genetic counseling session?
Your genetic counselor can help you understand the genetic risks to your baby and your testing options. You decide which testing, if any, you’d like to have. During a genetic counseling session and depending on your situation, the genetic counselor may:
- Create a family tree
- Tell you the genetic risk(s) of your current pregnancy, based on the information you provide and the medical records your doctor provides
- Discuss any genetic condition(s) identified in your family
- Discuss standard prenatal test and procedure options based on the genetic risk(s) identified
- Discuss your Family History Questionnaire.
When is a genetic counseling session recommended?
You may be referred for genetic counseling for various reasons, including if you:
- Have had two or more pregnancy losses or unexplained infertility
- Have a family history of an inherited disorder, birth defect or mental retardation
- Have questions about a disease or condition that runs in the family
- Have abnormal results from a screening test or diagnostic test
- Are concerned about exposures to infection, medications, alcohol, drugs, chemicals or other environmental substances that could harm your pregnancy
How does a genetic counselor work with my doctor?
A genetic counselor works closely with your health care provider. After your initial session, the counselor may provide your doctor a report that summarizes the genetic risks to your baby and your testing options.
If you think you need a genetic counseling session, please contact us today.