Genetic counseling

What Is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling provides information and support to people who have, or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. A genetics professional meets with you to discuss genetic risks. You may follow up with genetic testing. There are many reasons to seek genetic counseling. You may consider it if you:

Several resources for locating a genetics professional in your community are available online:

  • The American College of Medical Genetics (www.acmg.net)
  • The National Society of Genetic Counselors (www.nsgc.org)
  • The National Cancer Institute provides a Cancer Genetics Services Directory (www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics/directory)

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)1

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Genetic counseling provides information and support to people who have, or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. A genetic counselor meets with you to discuss genetic risks. The counseling may be for yourself or a family member. Or you may get it when you are planning or expecting a baby. You may follow up with genetic testing.

There are many reasons to seek genetic counseling. You may consider it if you

Genetics Home Reference

Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)2

Introduction: Genetic counseling

What is genetic counseling and evaluation?

Genetic professionals work as members of health care teams providing information and support to individuals or families who have genetic disorders or may be at risk for inherited conditions. Genetic professionals:

  • Assess the risk of a genetic disorder by researching a family's history, evaluating medical records, and conducting a physical examination of the patient and other family members when indicated.
  • Weigh the medical, social and ethical decisions surrounding genetic testing.
  • Provide support and information to help a person make a decision about testing.
  • Interpret the results of genetic tests and medical data.
  • Provide counseling or refer individuals and families to support services.
  • Serve as patient advocates.
  • Explain possible treatments or preventive measures.
  • Discuss reproductive options.

Source: NHGRI (NIH)3

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Genetic Counseling: An educational process that provides information and advice to individuals or families about a genetic condition that may affect them. The purpose is to help individuals make informed decisions about marriage, reproduction, and other health management issues based on information about the genetic disease, the available diagnostic tests, and management programs. Psychosocial support is usually offered.4

Stories about Genetic counseling

An Inside Look at Genetic Counseling

Katie Lewis is a genetic counselor and research coordinator at NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). She counsels people who volunteer for genetic clinical research. She spoke to NIH MedlinePlus magazine.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)5

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References

  1. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ summer13/ articles/ summer13pg14.html
  2. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ geneticcounseling.html
  3. Source: NHGRI (NIH): genome.gov/ 19016905/ faq-about-genetic-counseling/ 
  4. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  5. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ summer17/ articles/ summer17pg20-21.html

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.