Genetic Counseling

A Genetic Counselor is a health care professional with a master’s degree in human genetics and counseling. Expecting mothers, women planning to become pregnant, or couples may be referred to Dr. Lescale for:

  • Questions about a disease or condition that runs in the family
  • A family history of an inherited disorder, birth defect, or mental retardation
  • An abnormal result from a genetic screening or diagnostic test
  • Concerns about their job, lifestyle, or medical history which may pose a risk to pregnancy (including exposure to infection, medicines, alcohol, street drugs, chemicals, or other environmental agents)
  • Age of 35 years old or older when her baby is born
  • A history of two or more miscarriages or early infant deaths
  • The couple are first cousins or close blood relatives
  • The couple has infertility and suspect genetic causes

The genetic counseling session is one important tool prospective parents can use to help make their own decisions regarding a future or current pregnancy. First the genetic counselor evaluates the couples’ relevant medical history and any previous genetic testing. The couple is given an opportunity to ask questions about any genetic concerns that they have. Next a family history is taken and a three-generation family tree is constructed including medical problems that could be inherited. By applying standard genetic analysis to all of the provided information the genetic counselor determines the couples’ risk for having a baby affected with a birth defect or a genetic condition. Then the genetic counselor will explain the testing options available, including risks, benefits and limitations. Also written educational materials and information about community resources can be provided.

The session is intended to empower the couple with knowledge so they can decide if they want any genetic testing. The decision to request or refuse any genetic test is entirely up to the patient.

 

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© 2018 Keith Lescale, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.