Genetic Counseling

Definition - What does Genetic Counseling mean?

Genetic counseling provides information and support to prospective parents who have, or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. In genetic counseling, trained professionals help people determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited genetic conditions, and the chance of having a child with a genetic defect. Genetic counseling provides information to make informed decisions about testing and treatment. Genetic counseling may be a consideration if there is a family history of a genetic defect, after multiple miscarriages, or during pregnancy after age 35. Genetic counseling may be able to determine if there is a genetic cause present for infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling provides couples experiencing infertility an in depth look at genetic factors that may be contributing to infertility. Male infertility often has a genetic basis. If a genetic factor for infertility is found, this can guide treatment options and potentially increase the likelihood of successfully achieving pregnancy.

Some parents may have a higher risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder. Once a woman becomes pregnant, genetic counseling may include identifying families at risk by reviewing family and personal health history, investigating the problem present in the family, interpreting information about the disorder, analyzing inheritance patterns and risk of recurrence, and reviewing available options with the family. Some common conditions that might be discussed during genetic counseling include Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and others.

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