Genetic counseling provides information and support to people who have or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. A genetic counselor meets with you to discuss genetic risks. The counseling may be for yourself or a family member. Or you may get it when you are planning or expecting a baby. You may follow up with genetic testing. The genetic counseling team at the Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment Center. Prenatal genetic counseling is appropriate for:
- Women 33 and older
- Women who have had abnormal results from prenatal screening tests, such as ultrasound and bloodwork
- Women concerned about an exposure, such as medications or infections, during pregnancy
- Couples with a family history of a genetic condition
- Couples who have experienced multiple miscarriages
- Couples who are experiencing infertility
- Individuals who are known carriers of a genetic condition
- Already have a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect
Our genetic counselors provide: Information about the risk of fetal abnormalities and further screening and testing options, Information about chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects or genetic conditions of concern. Consideration of the factors involved in decisions about carrier screening or prenatal testing, Coordination of genetic testing, Communication of results from testing performed through the center. Resources and educational materials. Collaboration with other specialists as needed, including maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric genetics, fetal therapy, neonatology, pediatric cardiology, pediatric surgery and pediatric neurology, as needed. For patients who are expecting:
- During the counseling session, your genetic counselor will review your pregnancy and family histories.
- Results of relevant tests performed by your obstetrician will be discussed.
- The genetic counselor will describe the features of conditions for which your baby may be at an increased risk, and discuss further testing options, such as: o Ultrasound o Maternal serum and other screening tests o Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) o Amniocentesis
- The benefits and risks of these procedures will be described. The counselors will organize the testing you desire.
Results from genetic testing will be communicated to you and your obstetric care provider by the genetic counselors. In most pregnancies, testing results are normal and reassuring to the family. If a fetal abnormality is detected, the counselor will provide additional information and referrals to specialists. The primary goal of genetic counseling is to provide information and support for your decisions regarding genetic testing in your pregnancy. If you are expecting a baby or planning to get pregnant, you may be referred for genetic counseling. You may decide to seek the advice of genetic counselors because you are concerned about your age, your family history or the risk of inherited conditions.