Genetic counseling

What Is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of determining the risk you have of passing on an inheritable disease to your baby. Genetic counseling involves a specially trained health care professional who identifies families at risk, investigates the problem present in the family, interprets information about the disorder, analyzes inheritance patterns and risk of recurrence, and reviews available options with the family.

Who Should Seek Genetic Counseling?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3% of babies born in the United States will have a birth defect. Genetic counseling is not necessary for the majority of couples who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant.

Genetic counseling should be considered by couples who have one or more of the following risk factors:
  • Abnormal results from routine prenatal testing.
  • Amniocentesis results that identify a chromosomal defect.
  • An inherited disease present in a close family member.
  • A child with a birth defect or genetic disorder.
  • Mother over 35 years old.

The following represents some of the ethnic groups which have a greater chance of certain genetic defects:
  • Ethnic Group
  • Genetic Defect
  • African Americans
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Central or Eastern Jews
  • Tay – Sachs disease
  • Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern
  • Thalassemia