Our Outpatient Services

Genetic Counseling

Who is a genetic counselor?

A genetic counselor is a trained health care professional with a specialized graduate degree in the area of medical genetics.  In the field of prenatal genetic counseling, a genetic counselor’s role is to help a patient understand her risks for having a child affected with a genetic or chromosome abnormality, educate the patient about the screening and/or diagnostic options available, and coordinate any prenatal or postnatal follow-up necessary.

What are the most common reasons for a woman to see a genetic counselor?

While there are hundreds of reasons, the most common reasons include advanced maternal age (maternal age equal to or greater than 35), an abnormal screening test and/or ultrasound in a current pregnancy, a family history of a genetic/chromosome condition in a prior pregnancy, a family history of a genetic disease, or a member of an ethnic group at risk for a specific disorder.

What can I expect in a genetic counseling session?

Generally, genetic counselors will construct a three generation pedigree of your family asking specific questions about ethnic background, genetic diseases, age of onset of health conditions and prior pregnancy outcomes.   They will review the risks, if any, to your current or future pregnancy, and assist you in understanding the risks, benefits and alternatives to any available screening or diagnostic tests.  Genetic counselors are trained to be objective – respecting and supporting the opinions and views of the patients they counsel.  In the event of an abnormal test result, the genetic counselor becomes a valuable coordinator of care between the patient’s obstetrician and any subspecialty care that may be needed before or after the birth of the child.

Isn’t most of the information available on the internet?

The internet is a wonderful resource but can also provide misleading and inaccurate information.  Our genetic counselors can help guide you through a confusing array of information that is critical to know prior to making any decisions about your pregnancy.

Do I need to be pregnant to see a genetic counselor?

No.  Many people know they are at risk for a chromosome abnormality or a specific disease before they become pregnant.  Our genetic counselors will gladly help a patient understand a particular genetic condition, research the availability of testing, arrange maternal and/or paternal testing if indicated, and coordinate prenatal testing if requested by the patient.

 

 

Do I need to be pregnant to see a genetic counselor?

No. Many people know they are at risk for a chromosome abnormality or a specific disease before they become pregnant. Genetic counselors will gladly help a patient understand a particular genetic condition, research the availability of testing, coordinate maternal and/or paternal testing if indicated, and coordinate prenatal testing if requested by the patient.