Genetic counseling services provide information for patients and referring physicians concerning genetic conditions as well as diagnostic testing. This information is current and includes discussions regarding the nature and consequences of the disorder, prenatal testing, recurrence risks and reproductive options.
The genetic counselors also play a supportive role to patients by discussing psychological considerations. They aid in helping families cope with a genetic condition by supporting their goals in a nondirective way. The genetic counselors work closely with the laboratory directors and clinical geneticists.
Often, it is the genetic counselor who will identify specialized laboratories for additional testing and make all the necessary arrangements. These individuals help in maintaining a comprehensive approach for patient care and management. Our genetic counselors are also active in educating the public and physicians regarding new developments in Genetics.
What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. This process integrates the following:
- Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence
- Education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research
- Counseling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition
Genetic counselors work with families at all ages and stages of life from preconception (preimplantation genetic diagnosis and family planning) through birth (newborn screening) and into adulthood (late onset diseases).
Genetic counseling services are offered here at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for individuals who do not need diagnosis of a particular condition, but who, instead, need to discuss a particular condition or genetic concern in themselves or their family. The Genetic Counseling Clinic is available weekly.