Genetic Counseling & Prenatal Genetic Testing
At our prenatal wellness center, our medical teams, including our genetic counselors, help families manage pregnancies at risk for abnormalities.
Your genetic counselor will play many roles in your care, from educator, to advocate, to support person. Our genetic counselors have special training in human genetics and counseling, and have become increasingly important as genetic advancements and testing have become more complex.
What We Do
Genetic counseling is a communication process to help you and your family understand medical risks, understand your options, and choose the course of action most appropriate for you in view of your family goals. Common reasons for a visit with a genetic counselor include:
- An age of 35 or older on the part of the mother at the time of delivery
- Abnormal screening test results
- A family history of a genetic disorder or birth defect
- Multiple miscarriages
- Exposure during pregnancy to medications or drugs
- A known fetal abnormality
- Racial or ethnic backgrounds with known increased incidence of certain genetic diseases
Couples who visit a genetic counselor may already have established a pregnancy or may be planning a pregnancy for the future.
At the Prenatal Wellness Center our perinatologists, who are specialists in fetal testing, perform diagnostic testing for specific disorders via:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), a vaginal procedure to obtain placental cells for testing. This is performed at 10 to 12 weeks after gestation and is associated with a 1 percent risk for miscarriage
- Traditional amniocentesis: a needle obtains amniotic fluid and cells for testing. This is performed at 15 weeks after gestation and throughout the pregnancy, and is associated with a 0.25 to 0.5 percent risk for miscarriage
- Other fetal screening tests are also available
Other commonly used screening tests include:
- A targeted ultrasound performed by specially trained perinatal ultrasonographers
- A maternal serum screen: a screening of the mother's blood to look for open neural tube defects and chromosomal abnormalities
We have several genetic counselors, and genetic testing is available daily during the business week. Appointments are generally made by referral of the obstetric healthcare provider so that insurance requirements are met. However, self-referrals for appointments (contacting us yourself for an appointment) are also welcome.