Genetic Counselling

Genetic counselling is a communicative process which involves educating patients and their families with the occurance and/or recurrence of a genetic disorder in a family. It’s a process, by which the families are: a. Informed about the genetic basis of their clinical disorder, the inheritance pattern and the recurrence risk b. Guided through the testing and management options c. Helped to choose a course of action which is appropriate in their view taking into consideration, risk, family goals, ethical and religious standards d. Providing social and psychological support to the affected family

When should you see a Genetic Counsellor?

  • One should see a genetic counsellor under the following scenarios:
  • Anyone with a family history of a genetic condition or birth defect
  • Any couple having a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect
  • Consanguinity [marrying within relatives]
  • Any couple who is pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and are concerned about the genetic health of their future baby
  • Women with bad obstetric history, two or more pregnancy losses or having one or more than one baby who died with an unknown cause
  • Antenatal ultrasound or pregnancy screening tests suggests a possible risk
  • Follow-up for a positive new-born screening test • Before undertaking any genetic testing [pre-test] and after receiving results [post- test]

When you go for a genetic counselling session, the counsellor:

  • Takes your family’s health history, including past generations, and uses this information to find how your family’s health may affect you
  • Upon receiving your doctor’s consent, the coordinator may set up appointments for you to have genetic testing done to check for the genetic conditions
  • Helps you understand the genetic test results and risk for genetic conditions

Why is Genetic Counselling necessary

  • Genetic Counselling helps an individual or a couple take an informed decision based on the full information about the genetic condition provided during the counselling sessions. Genetic counseling is becoming an integral part of healthcare services because:
  • New information about causative genes for genetic disorders and birth defects is now coming into light and parents and families seeks the latest information
  • Most of these genetic conditions can be diagnosed and interpreted with relevant genetic tests
  • Many different genetic testing options are now available which needs pretest and post test counseling.