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Find answers to your questions about genetic services at Atlantic Health System:

What happens during a genetic counseling appointment?

The team will review your medical history and family history. Depending on the reason for your visit, a thorough physical examination may be done. Finally, treatment or testing options will be discussed. You will work with the team to develop a plan of care as needed.

Can I bring someone with me?

You may bring family members or other supportive individuals.  

Who would benefit from a genetics appointment?
  • An individual who has a personal or family history of a genetic condition, birth defect, chromosomal disorder or hereditary cancer
  • A woman who has had two or more pregnancy losses (miscarriages), a stillbirth or a baby who died
  • A child with a known inherited disorder, a birth defect, mental retardation or developmental delay
  • A woman who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant at or after age 35
  • An individual who has abnormal test results that suggest a genetic or chromosomal conditionAn individual who has an increased risk of developing or passing on a particular genetic disorder on the basis of his or her ethnic background
  • People related by blood (for example, cousins) who plan to have children together (A child whose parents are related may be at an increased risk of inheriting certain genetic disorders.)
  • An individual contemplating genetic testing
  • An individual who wants to discuss specific genetic tests or a commercial genetic assessment
How do I decide if I need to see the genetic counselor or the geneticist?

Genetic counselors are trained medical professionals with master’s degrees who help patients understand and cope with genetic conditions that affect their lives. A medical geneticist is a physician with specialized training in genetics. Individuals with an unknown diagnosis would benefit from seeing a medical geneticist. Patients who are pregnant and would like prenatal genetic counseling usually begin by seeing the prenatal genetic counselor and may be referred to the medical geneticist if indicated.

What do I need to do to prepare for the appointment?
  • Ask your parents and grandparents, if possible, about genetic conditions, birth defects or mental retardation in the family
  • Obtain medical records, if possible, on individuals with disabilities
  • Obtain a referral if necessaryBring your insurance card with you to the appointment

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