Genetic counseling
An educational counseling process for individuals and families who have a genetic disease or who are at risk for such a disease. Genetic counseling is designed to provide patients and their families with information about their condition and help them make informed decisions. The American Society of Human Genetics in 1975 adopted the following definition of genetic counseling: Genetic counseling is a communication process which deals with the human problems associated with the occurrence, or the risk of an occurrence, of a genetic disorder in the family. This process involves an attempt by one or more appropriately trained persons to help the individual or family to comprehend the medical facts, including the diagnosis, probable course of the disorder, and the available management; appreciate the way heredity contributes to the disorder, and the risk of recurrence in specified relatives; understand the alternatives for dealing with the risk of occurrence; choose the course of action which seems to them appropriate in view of their risk, their family goals, and their ethical and religious standards, to act in accordance with that decision; and to make the best possible adjustment to the disorder in an affected family member and/or the risk of recurrence of that disorder. What goes on in genetic counseling has been described by Robert G. Resta, a genetic counselor at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA as follows: Some genetic counseling sessions are simple and require only one visit. Other times, multiple sessions are needed to collect additional information, to update the family or to deal with ongoing medical and/or psychosocial problems. The first step in a genetic counseling session is to determine why the patient or family is seeking genetic counseling and to identify what information they wish to get out of the session. Usually only one or two family members attend a counseling session. Sometimes cousins, in-laws, siblings, and grandparents may come. For genetic counselors, the family is the patient, not just the person affected, or potentially affected, with a genetic disease. An accurate pedigree is an important part of genetic counseling. A pedigree is used to help make a diagnosis of a genetic disease, to determine a person's risk of developing a genetic disease or to determine the risk of having a child with a genetic disease. At minimum, a pedigree includes first degree relatives (parents and siblings), second degree relatives (aunts and uncles) and third degree relatives (cousins and grandparents). The counselor may ask questions about more distant relatives like great-uncles or second cousins when necessary. Besides depicting familial relationships, a pedigree also contains vital medical information like birth date, age of death, cause of death, health problems, and results of genetic tests. Obtaining medical records on affected relatives can ensure the medical information is accurate. Sometimes, a pedigree reveals confidential information that is not necessarily known to all family members, such as which relatives have genetic diseases or may suggest non-paternity (when the husband is not the father of the baby). Insurance companies may use information from the pedigree to deny health or life insurance to a person at risk to develop a genetic disease. Therefore, extreme care must be taken to maintain confidentiality.

* * *

genetic counseling n guidance provided by a medical professional typically to individuals with an increased risk of having offspring with a specific genetic disorder and that includes providing information and advice concerning the probability of producing offspring with the disorder, prenatal diagnostic tests, and available treatments

* * *

counseling provided to an individual, family, or group manifesting or at risk for developing or transmitting a genetic disorder, including risks, consequences, and methods of management.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Genetic counseling — is the process by which patients or relatives, at risk of an inherited disorder, are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder, the probability of developing or transmitting it, and the options open to them in management and family… …   Wikipedia

  • genetic counseling — n. the medical counseling of prospective parents regarding the existence of genetic abnormalities in a fetus or the possible transmission of genetic defects …   English World dictionary

  • genetic counseling — A communication process between a specially trained health professional and a person concerned about the genetic risk of disease. The person s family and personal medical history may be discussed, and counseling may lead to genetic testing …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • genetic counseling — the counseling of individuals with established or potential genetic problems, concerned with inheritance patterns and risks to future offspring. [1965 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • genetic counseling — genet′ic coun′seling n. med gen the counseling of persons with established or potential genetic problems in regard to inheritance patterns and risks to future offspring • Etymology: 1965–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • genetic counseling — noun guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children • Hypernyms: ↑guidance, ↑counsel, ↑counseling, ↑counselling, ↑direction …   Useful english dictionary

  • genetic counseling — noun Date: 1955 guidance relating to genetic disorders that is provided by a medical professional typically to individuals with an increased risk of having a child with such a disorder …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Genetic counseling — Conseil génétique En général, le conseil génétique désigne un conseil prénatal appliqué lorsqu un problème génétique est suspecté au cours de la grossesse. Un conseiller génétique est un professionnel de la santé spécialisé et expérimenté dans le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Journal of Genetic Counseling — is a medical journal.It is published by Springer Science+Business Media.External links* http://www.springer.com/biomed/human+genetics/journal/10897 …   Wikipedia

  • Genetic testing — (also called DNA based tests) is among the newest and most sophisticated of techniques[1] used to test for genetic disorders which involves direct examination of the DNA molecule itself. Other genetic tests include biochemical tests for such gene …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”