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The Prenatal & Preconception Genetic Counseling Program

Many couples who are planning a pregnancy or who are already pregnant have questions about their genetic history and how it affects their children.  Genetic counseling helps to address these and other concerns that may arise throughout planning and achieving a pregnancy.  Reviewing the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below will help you to understand what prenatal/preconception genetic counseling involves and if it’s appropriate for you.

Who may benefit from prenatal/preconception genetic counseling?

Couples who:

  • are planning to achieve a pregnancy
  • have experienced multiple pregnancy losses
  • are of certain ancestries
  • are related by blood
  • have a family history of a hereditary disease
  • have any other concerning family history


Women who:

  • will be 35 years of age or older when they give birth
  • are concerned about their first or second trimester screening results
  • are concerned about pregnancy ultrasound findings
  • were exposed to medications or certain other agents in pregnancy
  • wish to undergo additional screening or diagnostic testing


What does prenatal/preconception genetic counseling involve?

Genetic counseling usually consists of an office visit that lasts approximately one hour.  If a follow up visit is necessary, it will be discussed at the time of the initial consultation.

The genetic counselor will first discuss the reason for your visit and your expectations for the appointment.  Next, the counselor will collect and analyze your medical and family history.  This information will be used to determine which screening and/or testing options may be appropriate.  The genetic counselor will then help you decide which of those options are right for you.

If I have genetic counseling, do I have to have genetic testing?

No.  Not everyone who comes for prenatal/preconception genetic counseling needs genetic testing.  All testing is optional and your genetic counselor can help you decide which testing and screening options are appropriate for you.