explain how gene changes can cause genetic illnesses
talk about how likely it is that a genetic illness will be passed to a child
talk about options on what to do next
provide support and resources
What Are the Options After Genetic Counseling?
A genetic counselor provides support while people decide what is right for them. The counselor doesn’t tell anyone what to do. Some people don’t make any changes or do any more testing based on genetic counseling.
Options Before Pregnancy
After genetic counseling, people thinking about getting pregnant might consider:
a pre-implantation diagnosis. This is when eggs that were fertilized in a lab (not in the womb) are tested very early for genetic illnesses. Only fertilized eggs without the illnesses are used to create a pregnancy.
After genetic counseling, someone who is already pregnant might decide to:
have the baby
undergo surgery while the baby is still in the womb
end the pregnancy
People at high risk for a particular genetic illness might be able to make changes that can help. For example, someone with a high risk for a type of cancer could get more frequent screening tests.
What Else Should I Know?
Genetic testing results aren’t always completely clear. Sometimes, having a genetic change doesn’t mean that a person will definitely have a genetic illness. Also, the same genetic change might cause mild illness in one person but a more severe illness in another.
Working with a genetic counselor can help people get important information about genetic illnesses. The counselor is there to give support while people make their own decisions. They understand that what's right for one person or family may not be right for another.