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Genetic Counseling Definition
A multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the risk for specific genetic diseases or CHROMOSOMAL DISORDERS.Doctors often recommend genetic counseling for people who have strong family history for GENETIC DISORDERS such as TAY-SACHS DISEASE or HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE and older women who are or who are planning to become pregnant.
Obstetricians also will recommend genetic counseling for couples who receive positive results from prenatal genetic tests so they may make informed decisions and conduct appropriate planning for pregnancies in which there are genetic or chromosomal abnormalities.
A genetic counseling team may include a clinical geneticist (physician specializing in genetics and molecular medicine), genetic psychologist, and a social worker. The intent of genetic counseling is to evaluate family history, results of genetic tests, and current health circumstances to provide individuals, couples, or families with as much information as possible about whatever genetic risks or situations they are facing and the options for addressing them.
The role of the genetic counseling team is to answer questions and provide support for the decisions individuals and couples make. Major healthcare centers and high-risk obstetrical practice groups generally have genetic counseling practitioners and services available.