In the spring issue of Genome, we introduced you to the oft-misunderstood profession of genetic counseling. If you’ve been wondering if you should see a genetic counselor, first consider this information from the American Board of Genetic Counseling:
What Is Genetic Counseling?
The goal of genetic counseling is to help you learn more about the causes of genetic conditions and how they affect you. Genetic counselors can:
- Review your family and medical histories.
- Explain how genetic conditions are passed down through families.
- Figure out if you or your family members are at risk for disease.
- Find and give you information about genetic conditions.
- Offer guidance to help you make informed choices or life plans.
- Provide information about testing options and help you decide what is best for you and your family.
- Help you find referrals to medical specialists, advocacy and support networks, and other resources.
Why Might I See a Genetic Counselor?
- You are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and are concerned about the health of your baby.
- Your baby had an abnormal result from newborn screening.
- You, your child, or a family member has been diagnosed with a genetic condition.
- You are concerned that you, your child, or a family member has a genetic or inherited condition and would like more information.
- Your family has a history of developmental disability, birth defects, and/or mental retardation.
- Your family has a history of mental illness.
- Your family has a history of cancer.
How Can I Find a Genetic Counselor?