Genetic counseling is the process of explaining medical and scientific information about an inherited condition or birth defect to an individual or family. The goal of genetic counseling is for families and individuals to understand the information, participate in decision-making about their medical care, and be able to manage the associated problems in a way that is best for them and their families.
Genetic counselors are health care professionals who have completed training in an accredited Masters degree program and have passed the certification examination administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Genetic Counselors are trained to:
- Review family histories and medical records
- Discuss genetic conditions and how they are inherited
- Explain inheritance patterns
- Perform genetic risk assessments
- Review available testing options
- Discuss disease management, treatment and surveillance options
- Explore the impact of genetic disorders on both affected and unaffected family members and assist families and individuals as they adjust to the diagnosis
Most genetic counselors work in conjunction with a medical geneticist or as part of a department, program, or institution. They play a crucial role in health care delivery, particularly in the areas of prenatal diagnosis and cancer genetics.
Intermountain Healthcare Genetic Counselors