Four Times When it May Be Helpful to Speak with a Genetic Counsellor

By Ashley Collier, MS, CGC 

Many people are unfamiliar with the field of genetic counselling and what a genetic counsellor can do for them. Genetic counselling is a field that is growing and expanding but also changing and evolving with time. This post gives four examples of when speaking with a genetic counsellor can be helpful.

Preconception – Some couples opt to speak with a genetic counsellor when they are planning a pregnancy. A genetic counsellor can review their medical and family history and provide information on any medical conditions in the family. Additionally, a genetic counsellor can discuss options for carrier testing. Carrier testing is genetic testing that can determine whether someone is a carrier for different genetic conditions.

Prenatal – Some pregnant women and couples meet with a genetic counsellor, for example, if there is a family history of a genetic condition. The genetic counsellor would review the family history and provide information about the condition, including how it can be inherited. The genetic counsellor can provide information about prenatal genetic testing options as well.

Pediatric – A genetic counsellor can speak with a child and their parents if there is a chance the child may have a genetic condition. For example, there are some genetic conditions that can run through families that can affect children, and the genetic counsellor can explain the chance of the child having the condition, and discuss the option of genetic testing. The genetic counsellor can also help explain genetic test results and what those may mean for the child and family.

Adult – Genetic counsellors also speak with adults who may have a personal or family history of a condition that may have a hereditary basis. The genetic counsellor reviews the medical and family history and can provide a risk assessment. The genetic counsellor may also discuss genetic testing options to help refine the patient’s risk. For example, there are some heart-related conditions that can run through families that can be caused by genetic changes. If the patient is interested, the genetic counsellor can help the patient determine whether they may be at increased risk of developing the same condition. If the patient is at increased risk, the genetic counsellor can provide recommendations on how to manage their risk.

Are you in one of these categories? Grey Genetics offers all these consult types and more on the Grey Genetics Network. No need to step foot in a clinic or hospital: you can schedule your telehealth genetic counseling appointment here and speak with a specialized genetic counselor through phone or video-conference. 

Do you meet genetic testing criteria for hereditary breast cancer risk?