What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetics consultations are informative meetings designed to help patients better understand their health and enable them to make important health-related decisions. Our geneticists place great importance on taking into account all aspects of the particular problem facing an individual or family in order to be as helpful as possible.

The genetic counseling process includes reviewing a patient’s personal health history, tracing family health history, and, if indicated, a syndromological examination of the patient. Information gathered in these exercises enables the geneticist to assess the likelihood of genetic disease and discuss diagnostic or predictive testing and other options with the patient and family. The goal of genetic counseling is to be non-directive in facilitating the healthcare related decision making process for patients and families. If genetic testing is pursued and/or a diagnosis is made, in-depth discussion of results and risks to family members will take place. Additionally, recommendations for treatment, surveillance or therapy will be made. Each consultation is followed by a written report summarizing the consultation and sent to the patient and 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 a genetic counselling session so that they may make informed family planning decisions. Many couples with fertility challenges choose to take advantage in vitro fertilization. Fertility challenges could be caused by cytogenetic or molecular genetic aberrations and diseases of potentially genetic origin should therefore be clarified in order to properly assess the risk of having a child with an inherited disease.