How can a genetic counselor help me?*

Genetic counselors can help you make informed, personalized decisions about your genetic health. They can help identify your potential genetic health risks, give you information about genetic conditions and inheritance patterns, discuss genetic testing options, help you understand your genetic results, and provide support throughout the process.

Here are some common reasons people speak with genetic counselors:

  • I have a family history of a certain health condition, is there a genetic test I can take to find out if I’m at risk?
  • My partner and I are planning a pregnancy, what types of testing are available to us?
  • I have a known genetic mutation in my family, what can I do?
  • I have a medical condition and want to learn whether I could pass it to my children.
  • Can you help me share my genetic information with my relatives, or with my doctors?
  • Genetic counselors can also work with your physicians or other healthcare providers to make sure your genetic information is effectively considered in your overall health care.

What happens when I see a genetic counselor?

Genetic counseling may be provided in-person or over the telephone.  The genetic counselor may:

  • Review your personal and family medical history
  • Identify possible genetic risks and discuss inheritance patterns
  • Review appropriate testing options
  • Discuss prevention strategies, screening tools, disease management
  • Provide genetics-related information and reliable resources
  • Provide supportive counseling that may help you with topics that arose during the consultation.

*Courtesy of the  National Society of Genetic Counselors, www.nsgc.org

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