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Search Health Information    Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling is guidance given by a health professional (genetic counselor or medical geneticist) who is trained to help people understand their risk of getting a disease related to genetics or of having a child with an inherited (genetic) condition, such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, or hemophilia.

Genetic counseling may involve:

  • Teaching a parent or couple about how a specific condition is inherited or passed from parents to a child.
  • Discussing the problems a genetic condition may cause.
  • Discussing whether and how to test for a genetic condition before a woman becomes pregnant or before a child is born.
  • Discussing the likelihood, based on test results, that the couple will have a child with a genetic condition.
  • Helping a person adapt to the risk of developing a genetic condition such as Huntington's disease. Genetic counselors also can help a person deal with having a condition related to genetics.
  • Helping individuals, couples, or families make decisions about genetic testing and any related actions that are right for them.

Last Revised: October 31, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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