What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic Counseling is meant the method of advising persons. It involves discussing the chances of parental conditions. It will help the patients or their relatives to know the choices about genetic implications, consequently thereupon to take remedies

Dr. Neha Mehta Special Education 27 Jun 2020
Genetic Counseling
2 Years Ago 521 Reads 6 min read

Genetic Counseling is meant the method of advising persons. It involves discussing the chances of parental conditions. It will help the patients or their relatives to know the choices about genetic implications, consequently thereupon to take remedies. Let us know what genetic Counseling is?

Importance of Genetic Counseling:

A picture showing DNA for genetic counselling

A competent and capable Genetic Counseling prevents pregnant patients at risk or suffering from hereditary issues from passing issues on to their unborn offspring. It has to be done by trained professionals like doctors and psychologists. Once patients can understand what the genetic counseling process is, they prefer to undergo testing. Parents must have immediate access to informed choices to reduce the number of children born with disabilities. The genetic counselor will collect personal and family history.

The genetic counselor must recognize and deal with psychological defense mechanisms that affect persons. Denial, guilt, grief, and mourning before couples should decide on reproduction. He must help them in the long term social needs of an affected individual besides their medical needs.

They use this genetic information to decide how likely it is that you have genetic conditions. Upon this, they can help you whether genetic tests might be right for you or your relative.

Genetic Counseling process:

The trained professional counselor gives information on the inheritance of decease, psychological disorders, and their recurrence risks. They address patients' concerns, provide care, and support patients and their families dealing with these illnesses. Genetic Counseling in the general population residing in cities and villages is a difficult task due to their literacy and low socio-economic circumstances. Presently, the field of genetic Counseling has expanded rapidly. Genetic counselors practice in a variety of settings, including hospitalities, clinics, and offices. Patients seeking genetic Counseling to younger, elderly, male or female, pregnant or newly married couples affected with an illness, or at high risk for a disease.

Unlike psychological Counseling, Genetic Counseling is a process by which parents and their families are informed about inheritance patterns and the risk of their reoccurrence. It guides the parents through testing and management options.

A variety of genetic testing methods

Knowledge of chromosomes and genes carried by an individual may get revealed through genetic testing. Some available tests:

1. Newborns:

The screening of newborns soon after birth informs of genetic disorders. Early treatment may be rendered. Phenylketonuria (which causes intellectual disability, if left untreated) test used for infants.

2. Diagnostic Testing:

Diagnostic testing is used to identify a specific supposed genetic or chromosomal condition. The assumption could be according to symptoms and physical characteristics. Such examination to reveal a diagnosis may be administered even before birth. Diagnostic testing may get carried out at any time during life. The limitations are that such testing is not available for all genes or all genetic conditions. The result of a diagnostic test can influence a person's choice about health care and the management of the disorder.

3. Carrier testing:

Identifying certain individual carriers of genetic disorders is made possible through Carrier testing. Such individuals carry a copy of gene mutation. Two copies cause genetic diseases. Some families have a history of such a disease, and they need such testing. Particular ethnic groups are also found to be highly susceptible to genetic liabilities. The test can provide information about the couple's risk of having a child with a genetic condition if both parents are tested for the disease.

4. Testing before birth

The process of testing the genes or chromosomes of the fetus before birth is called prenatal testing. Such tests may be administered during pregnancy if risks are present. If it is thought that the baby will develop genetic or chromosomal problems, such tests are justified. Decisions about the pregnancy may be possible after such tests. Prenatal testing can make couples feel more positive about the baby. However, the shortcomings are that every inherited genetic disorder cannot be understood. Nor can each congenital disability be traced.

5. Pre-implementation testing:

Pre-implementation testing is a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis that can reduce the risk of having a child with a particular genetic or chromosomal disorder. It is used to detect genetic changes in embryos created by using assisted reproductive techniques such as in-vitro fertilization. In Vitro fertilization involves removing egg cells from a woman's ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm cells outside the baby.

6. Pre-symptomatic and Predictive testing:

Pre-symptomatic and Predictive types of testing are used to detect gene mutations associated with disorders that appear after birth, often late in life. These kinds of tests are helpful to people who have family members with genetic disorders. With the help of Predictive testing, one can identify mutations that increase a person's risk of developing diseases with a genetic basis. Results of predictive and pre-symptomatic testing can give information on a person's developmental risk of a specific disorder and help in making decisions with medical care.

7. Forensic testing:

Forensic testing is used for DNA Sequences to identify an individual for legal purposes. Unlike the tests described above, the forensic examination does not detect gene mutations associated with the disease. This type of testing helps identify crime or catastrophe victims, rule out or implicate a crime suspect or establish biological relations between people (for example, paternity).

Benefits of Genetic Counseling:

Once your genetic counselor has complete information about you and your family's health hereditary history, he will provide personalized care to you as you deserve.

1. Increased understanding:

The genetic counselor can effectively communicate the information about your health and help couples understand the potential benefits of preventive measures to you and your family member.

2. Better peace of mind with early intervention:

A genetic counselor helps you understand the cause of the genetic condition. You will know the actions involved in preventing further spread or escalation. It is energizing to know that the particular gene is not carried.

3. Appropriate testing to make a decision:

Since they have thorough knowledge about you and your family's health, they can suggest necessary tests and guide you through decision making regarding testing or family planning. There are various ways to access genetic counseling services, including in-person, by phone, and video conference. They can provide thorough information about what genetic Counseling is and how it works to be useful for you if you use their services. It is compulsory to undergo treatment with a bit of advice from a genetic counselor since it is your health care.

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