What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling consists of informative meetings designed to help patients better understand their health and enable them to make important health-related decisions. The goal of genetic counseling is to be non-directive.
A genetic consultation includes:
- Reviewing a patient’s personal medical history
- Tracing a patient’s family medical history
- A physical examination of the patient (if indicated)
- An assessment of the likelihood of genetic disease
- A discussion of diagnostic options for the patient and his/her family
If genetic testing is pursued, further counseling includes:
- In-depth discussion of test results
- A diagnosis and/or options for further testing
- An assessment of familial risk for children and other family members
- Recommendations for treatment, surveillance, or therapy
A written report summarizing each session is sent to the patient and to the referring physician.
In the area of prenatal diagnostics, genetic counseling is especially important. Prospective parents should be informed of the possibilities and limitations of genetic diagnostics within the framework of genetic counseling so that they may make informed family planning decisions. Couples facing fertility challenges may carry genetic anomalies; diseases of potentially genetic origin therefore need to be cleared up in order to properly assess the risk of having a child with an inherited disorder.
Reasons for genetic counseling
Indications for genetic counseling are diverse. A genetic consultation should take place if there is a suspicion of an underlying genetic disease, as proper diagnosis often yields valuable prognostic and therapeutic information which may inform treatment and health management decisions.
Couples who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or having difficulty getting pregnant can benefit greatly from the information genetic counseling provides. The many possibilities and limitations of prenatal genetic diagnostics need to be taken into account in order for couples to make informed family planning decisions.
Genetic counseling is recommended if a patient or a member of his/her family is affected by:
- Complex disorders (suspected genetic syndrome) and multifactorial diseases
- Developmental delay and intellectual impairment
- Birth defects
- Muscle diseases
- Neurogenetic diseases
- Cancer, or cancer in the family (suspected genetic syndrome)
- Hereditary metabolic disorders
- Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- Current pregnancy in combination with:
- Planned prenatal testing (invasive or non-invasive)
- Advanced parental age
- Conspicuous first trimester test or abnormal fetal sonogram
- Reproductive medical procedures
- Familial cases of potentially hereditary diseases
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
Appointments in Munich
Monday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Fridays: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Other appointments by special arrangement only.