Genetic counseling is conducted by healthcare professionals who hold master’s degrees in human genetics and counseling. Our Genetic Counselor will review your test results and explain even the most complex and technical genetic information in practical and useful ways.
What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling, or specifically prenatal genetic counseling, is the process of screening for potential inherited disorders for your future baby. It is done by checking your family medical history, ordering and reviewing genetic tests, and finally, helping you understand the likelihood of passing disorders on to your children and reaching decisions about what you should do next.
What Happens During a Prenatal Genetic Counseling Session?
At your appointment, your genetic counselor will review several types of materials with you. This includes a three-generation family tree, which they will mark with any medical problems that could be inherited by your future child, as well as any other relevant medical records. Any genetic tests that you or your relatives have had will also be reviewed. By analyzing these materials, your genetic counselor will explain the risks of your child inheriting a condition or birth defect and discuss your options. Your genetic counselor will likely provide written information regarding the results of your testing. At this appointment, you may also ask any questions you may have and decide whether to pursue further genetic testing if you and your counselor feel it is necessary or beneficial.
Prenatal genetic counseling is beneficial for those with a family history of inherited disorders or birth defects. It is also sometimes pursued by those with concerns regarding the effects that their job, lifestyle, or medical history may have on a pregnancy. For example, those with a history of drug or alcohol use, infection, exposure to certain chemicals or environmental agents, or taking some medications may consider genetic counseling.
In addition, prenatal genetic counseling is often chosen by patients who will be 35 years old or older when their baby is born or those who have had two or more miscarriages or early infant deaths. It may also be useful for parents of a child with a birth defect or genetic condition. Finally, those who have an abnormal result from genetic screening or a diagnostic test should pursue prenatal genetic counseling.
What to Bring to a Genetic Counseling Appointment:
Before your appointment with a genetic counselor, you will likely be asked to have tests completed ahead of time. Your should bring the results of these tests to your appointment, including any of the following:
- Nuchal Translucency Test (first-trimester screening)
- Non-invasive prenatal screening (Panorama, MaterniT21, Harmony, etc.)
- Second-trimester screening (quad screen, alpha-fetoprotein, etc.)
- Carrier screening, including Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X, Ashkenazi Jewish, Universal carrier, or Hemoglobinopathy screening
If you plan to discuss family history with your genetic counselor, you should also bring genetic records of affected family members if possible. If you plan to discuss ultrasound findings, you should bring a copy of that ultrasound report if it was not completed at Carnegie Hill Imaging.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor in New York City, call Carnegie Imaging for Women at (212) 235-1506 or request an appointment online.
Learn More on Healthful Woman Podcast
“Invasive Testing: CVS and Amniocentesis” – with Dr. Andrei Rebarber
“We’re All Mutated: Carrier Screening” – with Dr. Tamar Goldwaser
“Looking into our Baby’s Genes: Aneuploidy Screening and Testing” – with Dr. Tamar Goldwaser
“The World of Genetics” – Meet Dr. Tamar Goldwaser