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What is Genetic Counseling?

Written by Courteney

Posted on December 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Genetic counseling is a medical process one can undergo, with the help of a genetic counselor, to learn more about inherited predispositions (or familial risk level) for developing certain medical conditions.

Where Can Genetic Counselors be Found?

Genetic counselors work in clinics, hospitals, genetics laboratories, research centers, prenatal centers and even insurance companies to help assess the potential hereditary health risks of families and individuals for different reasons.

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling?

Anyone can seek genetic counseling to get a better look at potential health conditions they may be at higher risk of developing. People most likely to seek or be referred to genetic counselors may include:

  • Those who have been diagnosed with a disease such as cancer and want to learn how their genetics may impact the prognosis.
  • Those who have family members with certain types of cancer and wish to learn about specific cancer genes they may have inherited that may raise their personal cancer risk.
  • Those who belong to certain ethnic groups or geographical populations with higher instances of disease.
  • Older parents thinking about conceiving and want to know the risks involved.
  • People who want to check if their genetics are compatible before conceiving. For example, if both parents carry a gene specific to cystic fibrosis, the child will have a 25% chance of being born with the disease.
  • Those who’ve already had child born with a genetic disease such as congenital heart problems or cleft palate.
  • Those who’ve had a child with autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disorder and wish to learn more about the situation.
  • Those who have received an abnormal ultrasound report for their unborn child.

We’ve only scratched the surface of this complex, comprehensive process that can help shed light on a person’s personalized medical topography and risk level for disease or help with prenatal planning. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



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