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Genetic Counseling: Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment Center

Genetic Counseling
Cathy Lawson, Beth Wood Denne, Erin Story Oehler,
and Ginny Corson, (not pictured Lori Erby, PhD)

Prenatal genetic counseling is appropriate for:

  • Women age 33 and older
  • Women who have had abnormal results from prenatal screening tests, such as ultrasound and blood work
  • Women concerned about an exposure, such as medications or infections, during pregnancy
  • Couples with a family history of a genetic condition
  • Couples who have experienced multiple miscarriages
  • Couples who are experiencing infertility
  • Individuals who are known carriers of a genetic condition

Our genetic counselors provide:

  • Information about the risk of fetal abnormalities and further testing options
  • Information about the chromosome abnormality, birth defect or genetic condition of concern
  • Consideration of the factors involved in decisions about carrier or prenatal testing
  • Coordination of genetic testing
  • Results from testing performed through the center
  • Resources and educational materials

What to Expect from a Genetic Counseling session

If you are currently expecting a baby, or are planning to get pregnant, you may be referred for genetic counseling.

For patients who are currently expecting:

  1. During the counseling session, your genetic counselor will review your pregnancy and family histories.
  2. Results of relevant tests performed by your obstetrician will be discussed.
  3. The genetic counselor will describe the features and characteristics of conditions for which your baby may be at increased risk and discuss further testing options, such as:
    1. Ultrasound
    2. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
    3. Amniocentesis
      The benefits and risks of these procedures will be described. The counselors will organize testing that you desire. Procedures such as CVS, amniocentesis and ultrasound are performed by perinatologists (obstetricians with training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine) in our Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment Center.
  4. Results from genetic testing will be communicated to you and your obstetric care provider by the genetic counselors. In most pregnancies, testing results are normal and reassuring to the family. If a fetal abnormality is detected, the counselor will provide additional information and referrals to specialists.

The primary goal of genetic counseling is to provide information and support for your decisions regarding genetic testing choices in your pregnancy.

For patients who are planning a pregnancy:

  1. You may decide to seek the advice of genetic counselors because you are concerned about your age, your family history or the risk of inherited conditions.
  2. Your genetic counselor will take a family history and review any available medical records. Carrier testing may be available in certain situations and will be discussed.
  3. If you elect to proceed with testing, your genetic counselor will coordinate those studies and report the results to you and to your physician. Reproductive options for future pregnancies will also be reviewed.

Genetic Counselors have a Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling and are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

Additional information is available in the attached Patient Information Sheet and the First Trimester Screening page.  Also included is our History Sheet, which can be completed for discussion at a counseling appointment.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 410-955-3091.


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