A genetic consultation provides information, offers support, and addresses a patient’s specific questions and concerns. To help determine whether a condition has a genetic component, a genetics professional asks about a person’s medical history and takes a detailed family health history (a record of health information about a person's immediate and extended family). The genetics professional may also perform a physical examination and recommend appropriate medical tests.
If a person is diagnosed with a genetic condition, the genetics professional provides information about the diagnosis, how the condition is inherited, the chance of passing the condition to future generations, and the options for testing and treatment.
During a consultation, a genetics professional will:
Interpret and communicate complex medical information.
Help each person make informed, independent decisions about their health care and reproductive options.
Respect each person’s individual beliefs, traditions, and feelings.
A genetics professional will NOT:
Tell a person which decision to make.
Coerce a couple about whether or not to have children.
Recommend that a woman continue or end a pregnancy.
Tell someone whether to undergo testing for a genetic disorder.