Genetic counseling is an educational counseling process to help people learn about genetic conditions and make informed decisions about testing and treatment.
Genetic Counseling may involve the diagnosis of a genetic condition and provides information, support and guidance by a team of health professionals to individuals and their families so that they may be better able to adjust to a diagnosis.
Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. They provide a critical service to individuals and families considering undergoing genetic testing by helping them identify their risks for certain disorders, investigate family health history, interpret information and determine if testing is needed.
Genetic counselors are here so you can understand your different testing options and the many different outcomes. They are not here to encourage or make you have testing. They are solely here to help you make an important decision regarding genetic testing that can impact many areas of your life.
Genetic counselors are also trained to provide counseling and support for people and families with genetic conditions.
There are many reasons that people go for genetic counseling, such as:
Some of the things a genetic counselor or clinical geneticist might do during a clinical visit include:
Your healthcare provider may refer you to a Genetic Counselor or a Clinical Geneticist to help you with testing decisions and support issues.
Clinical Geneticists and Genetic Counselors often work together as part of a health care team. They diagnose and care for people with genetic conditions and give information and support to people with genetic conditions and their families.
Clinical Geneticists are medical doctors with special training in genetics. In addition to educating families about genetic conditions, they perform clinical exams and order lab tests to diagnose the causes of birth defects and other genetic conditions. They can explain how a genetic condition may affect a person and give advice about treatment options and recurrence risks for future pregnancies.
The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides a central location for voluntary submission of genetic test information by providers and includes an international directory of genetic testing laboratories.