Genetic counseling helps people better understand the chances that their baby may develop certain genetic conditions and your baby’s odds of having a specific birth defect or genetic condition. Genetic counselors can provide you with information regarding which screening, diagnostic tests and care might be most appropriate for you and your baby.

Our genetic counselors are health professionals with a graduate degree in medical genetics and counseling. They are experienced in answering a family’s many questions clearly and thoroughly, and take the time to discuss problems a baby may face — all with compassion and caring.

Genetic Counseling for High-Risk Couples

People who may benefit from genetic counseling include:

  • People who have or are concerned they may have an inherited disorder or birth defect
  • Women who have had three or more miscarriages, have a history of a baby who was stillborn or had a baby who died in infancy
  • People who are considering prenatal diagnosis (chronic villus sampling, amniocentesis)
  • Couples who have a child with an inherited disorder, birth defect or mental retardation
  • Couples who would like more information about genetic conditions that are more prevalent in their ethnic group
  • Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant at or after age 35
  • People concerned that their exposure to radiation, chemicals, drugs or infections may pose a risk to pregnancy
  • Couples who are first cousins or other close blood relatives
  • Pregnant women whose ultrasound exam or blood test indicates the pregnancy may be at a higher risk for certain birth defects or complications

Sometimes, the worries and questions about genetic conditions, birth defects and other potential problems with a baby’s health are overwhelming. A genetic counselor can help you make decisions about genetic testing and pregnancy. The counselor will help you gain a basic understanding of genetics and disease and help you understand that your child may — or may not — be born with a certain birth defect or genetic condition.

What to Expect During a Genetic Counseling Appointment

A genetic counselor will carefully analyze your family medical history and share information with you regarding any possible inherited risks. Genetic counseling can’t tell you if your child will inherit a genetic disorder; rather, genetic counselors can help you understand the likelihood of an inherited disorder and give you information about additional tests that can be used to determine whether or not your child has a genetic disorder.

A genetic counselor will not require you to have any testing you do not want. Rather, a genetic counselor will provide you with complete information about testing options so you can make decisions that are right for you and your family.

Learn more about prenatal genetic counseling and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

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