Genetic counseling is a medical specialty that focuses on an individual’s or family’s risk for hereditary disease. A certified genetic counselor from Genome Medical has advanced training to help you recognize and address genetic health risks that you or your family members may have. After taking an expert look at your personal and family health histories, a genetic counselor can assess your risk for genetic conditions, help you decide if genetic testing is right for you, guide you through your test results and help you put those results into action with personalized medical recommendations for you and your doctor. This kind of expertise can be valuable to you now and in the future, since your personal or family situation can change over time. Speaking to a genetic counselor is like the difference between hiring a contractor to complete a home renovation versus doing it yourself. It gets done either way, but not including a professional means that it may be done less well, less completely or less efficiently. View More
What is Genetic
Looking to start a family?
Shawna and Khalid want to know about genetic health risks they could pass on to a future child. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would include a discussion of their personal and family health histories, genetic health risks and relevant genetic testing options. It would also include a review of their test results, how these results could impact a future child and possible future testing (such as genetic testing during a pregnancy or after a child is born). If Shawn and Khalid become pregnant, they could have genetic counseling again to revisit testing options and discuss updates. View More
Family History of
a Genetic Condition
Do certain diseases or conditions run in your family?
Elsa has a cousin with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic condition that impacts the lungs and other organs. She wants to have a child and know her child’s risk to have CF. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would include a discussion of Elsa’s personal and family health histories, including confirming her cousin’s diagnosis with available medical records or test results (since CF can be confused with other diseases). A genetic counselor would determine Elsa’s genetic risks and genetic test options and help her understand her results and how they could impact a future child. If Elsa becomes pregnant, she could have genetic counseling again to review testing options during/after a pregnancy and discuss other updates.View More
Signs or Symptoms of
a Genetic Condition
Looking to confirm a diagnosis?
Marco is a 2-month-old boy with heart problems caused by Down syndrome, a genetic condition caused by a difference in his chromosomes. His parents have his test results and want to learn about his diagnosis. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would include a supportive and accurate discussion of Marco’s diagnosis, including any risks to Marco’s parents or other family members. A genetic counselor would offer recommendations for Marco’s medical care and may partner with a medical geneticist (genetic doctor) for this. Genetic counseling could also connect Marco’s parents to support (such as similar families or an advocacy group). If Marco’s parents become pregnant, they could have genetic counseling again to review testing options during/after a pregnancy and discuss other updates.View More
Family History of Cancer
Does cancer run in your family?
Laurel has a history of colon, uterine and ovarian cancer on her dad’s side of the family. She has heard cancer can be genetic and wants to learn her risk for cancer. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would include an expert review of Laurel’s personal and family health histories, including available medical records (since some cancers can be confused with other diseases). A genetic counselor would help Laurel learn her genetic risks and relevant test options and go over her test results. Laurel could gain personalized medical recommendations to follow with her doctor to help reduce her cancer risks as well as a plan to share that information with her family members. View More
Are you a healthy individual wanting to know more about your genetic risks?
Aadesh wants to learn about his genetics to be proactive about his health. A certified genetic counselor would review Aadesh’s personal and family health histories, carefully looking for patterns of birth defects, diseases or other signs of a genetic condition. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would allow Aadesh to receive accurate information about his genetic risks, relevant test options and any test results. It could also give him medically actionable next steps to follow with his doctor to help reduce his genetic health risks as well as a plan to share that information with his family members. Aadesh could have genetic counseling again if his situation changes, such as if he decides to have a child or learns that a family member is diagnosed with a genetic condition. View More
Family History of Heart Disease
Does heart disease run in your family?
Matthew had an uncle on his dad’s side of the family who died suddenly while playing soccer during high school. Matthew has heard of other more distant relatives who are suspected to have died from heart-related causes, and he wants to learn if his family may be at risk for a genetic cause of heart disease. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would feature an expert review of Matthew’s personal and family health histories, including available medical records (since some heart conditions can be confused with other diseases). A genetic counselor would help Matthew learn his genetic risks and relevant test options and go over his test results. Matthew could gain personalized medical recommendations to follow with his doctor to help reduce his risk for heart disease as well as a plan to share that information with his family members. View More
Previous Genetic Testing
Have questions about genetic test results?
Judith received a genetic testing kit as a birthday gift from her sister. Judith and her sister had talked about doing this testing together due to their mutual concerns related to a family history of breast cancer. Judith was relieved when her results came back negative, but she wants to better understand the results and learn if there are any additional testing options she may be able to pursue. Genetic counseling is recommended because it would include an expert review of Judith’s testing results, as well as her personal and family health histories, including available medical records (since some cancers can be confused with other diseases). A genetic counselor would help Judith learn her genetic risks and other relevant test options. Judith could gain personalized medical recommendations to follow with her doctor to help reduce her cancer risks as well as a plan to share that information with her sister and other family members. View More
Schedule Your Genetic
With Genome Medical, you can simply schedule your consultation online with a certified genetic counselor and attend from the comfort of your own home. Secure video sessions are flexible and available to suit your schedule.
Which Genetic Counseling Programs Are Right for You?
Genetic counseling is not one-size-fits-all. The program you need depends upon your own health, your family’s health and your personal situation. For this reason, Genome Medical offers different genetic counseling programs to meet your needs.
Proactive Genomic Exploration helps you explore your genetic risks to improve your health. It’s best for people who don’t necessarily have a strong family or personal health history of a genetic condition, but want the guidance of a genetic expert to make an informed decision about genetic testing. Learn more
This genetic counseling program helps you understand your symptoms, diagnosis or family history of a genetic disorder. Advanced Genetic Care is right for people who want the guidance of a genetic expert for individualized information and medical recommendations about their genetic disorder or family history. Learn more
This genetic counseling program helps you understand your family member’s genetic risks or test results and what it all means for you. The Family Variant Insight Program is right for people who want expert help navigating next steps related to a family member’s genetic test results or diagnosis. Learn more
Four Key Steps of Genetic Counseling
How Does Genetic Counseling Work?
Genetic counseling often includes a discussion about genetic testing, but it is a common myth that it is only valuable after you have a genetic test. Speaking with a certified genetic counselor from Genome Medical is actually just as valuable before you have genetic testing, at the beginning of your genetic journey. A genetic counselor can be your partner to help you navigate this journey. Genetic counseling usually follows four key steps:
A genetic counselor will carefully review your personal and family health history and any risk factors. This helps determine if genetic testing is right for you and ensures you are being offered the most appropriate test. Genetic counselors also help you explore if you’d like to proceed with genetic testing. It is useful if you can come to your first appointment with any information you know about your biological family, focusing on the health of your close relatives (such as your parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins). Specifically, write down details about anyone with:
- A genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome
- Cancer, including the age they were first diagnosed with it
- Birth defects, such as cleft lip or palate, or a hole in their heart
- Intellectual or learning disabilities
- Inherited blood disorders, such as sickle-cell anemia or thalassemia
- More than three miscarriages or babies that were stillborn
- A blood relationship to their reproductive partner, such as first cousins
Don’t worry if you don’t know this information, such as if you are adopted or just not aware of your family’s health history. Your genetic counselor will still be able to help you.
This appointment will usually take 30 minutes and is scheduled within 1-2 business days.
If genetic testing is right for you, your genetic counselor will discuss your options with you, including the pros and cons. They can also help you learn if your insurance will cover the cost of your testing. Depending on the test, genetic testing is usually done with a saliva sample or blood sample. If you need to give a saliva sample, you will be sent a collection kit that you can return directly to the testing laboratory. If you need to give a blood sample, you will be scheduled to have your blood drawn at a time and place convenient to you. The wait time for results varies, depending on the test. When your results are back, you may schedule a follow-up consultation to go over your results with your genetic counselor.
After your results are back, you may schedule a follow-up consultation with your genetic counselor. At this appointment, your genetic counselor will discuss and interpret your test results, uncovering unique insights for you. Your genetic counselor will take your results and all your other medical information to develop a personalized care plan for you. For example, you may be recommended to have mammograms or colonoscopies more often, based upon your family history and your test results. Or you may be recommended to see a heart specialist for additional checks. All the information will be tailored to you and your situation, and may also be relevant to your family members.
Your genetic counselor wants to leave you with actionable next steps to take with your doctor. They will work with your primary care provider to incorporate your genetic information and recommendations into your regular health care. The Genome Medical team is able to refer to specialists where needed as well.
Genetic Counseling Consultation
With Genome Medical, you can simply schedule your consultation with a certified genetic counselor online and attend from the comfort of your own home. Secure video sessions are flexible and available to suit your schedule.