WHO UNDERSTAND YOUR RISKS AND EMPOWER YOUR CHOICES
What is genetic counseling?
ORM is proud to be among the first fertility clinics to include in-house genetic counselors in our clinical practice to enhance our patients’ experience.
Genetic counseling in reproductive care can help you understand your genetic risks and genetic testing options to optimize your future family’s health. We work with your physician to integrate genetic information into your overall treatment plan.
While the vast majority of babies are born healthy, there can be great value in identifying potential genetic risks before a pregnancy is conceived.
How can genetic counseling help me?
Because genomics is an important piece of fertility care, we want to empower you with an understanding of important genetic concepts and the choices you have during treatment. You’ll learn whether a genetic test is right for you and what the results mean, the inheritance of a disease that has occurred in your or your gamete donor’s family, or how you might reduce genetic risks to your offspring.
Who may benefit from genetic counseling during their fertility treatment?
You might benefit from an appointment with a genetic counselor if you:
are an IVF patient
who is interested in learning more about comprehensive chromosome screening
are a carrier of chromosomal condition
such as a translocation or inversion
have or are a carrier of a genetic condition
(e.g. cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, Fragile X syndrome)
have a history of recurrent miscarriages
are interested in learning more
about diseases that may be more common in your ethnic group
have a personal or family history of ...
a genetic disease, birth defect, mental retardation, autism, infertility, miscarriages/stillbirths, and/or early-onset adult disorders (e.g. cancer, cardiac, kidney, or neurologic problems <50yo) and are interested in discussing how these conditions may be inherited, whether there are risks to your future offspring, and whether genetic testing would be useful
are using an egg or sperm donor
and have questions about your donor’s genetic test results or family history
are an older prospective parent
(>34yo for women and >45yo for men) and want to discuss age-related risks to your offspring before you conceive
have a sex chromosome abnormality
that is associated with fertility challenges, such as Klinefelter syndrome (XXY), XYY syndrome, or Turner syndrome
are a man who has CBAVD
congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD) and therefore have an increased chance of being a carrier of cystic fibrosis
are genetically related to your reproductive partner
What can I expect when I see a genetic counselor?
During your appointment, your genetic counselor will:
Gather information about your medical and fertility history and any genetic tests you, your partner, and/or your donor have already had performed;
Review your and your reproductive partner’s family histories to identify any areas of concerns and any relevant genetic testing options;
Discuss options for or results of genetic carrier screening tests;
Tell you about the process
Tell you about the process and benefits, risks, and limitations of preimplantation genetic diagnosis or comprehensive chromosome screening (genetic testing on embryos);
Provide support for any of these decisions that may be difficult or stressful;
Review any resources, support groups, or research opportunities that may be relevant to you;
Identify any other concerns you have about potential genetic risk factors.
How can I prepare for a genetic counseling appointment?
Your input during your genetic counseling visit is important. Ask your family members to:
- Clarify any history of possible genetic conditions and their age of onset
- Exact name of the condition, and any relevant genetic testing results if known
- If possible, visit the Family History section of our Resources page for suggestions on gathering your family history ahead of time and to access online tools to help.
You may find it helpful to make a list of questions to ask the counselor:
- How can I use genomic information to improve the health of my future family?
- Are there any genetic condition that my offspring are at higher risk for and why? How can knowing more about those risks help me?
- What can genetic testing tell me about myself, my partner, or my embryos or future children? How accurate are the tests I am being offered and what can I expect from the test results?
- If I or someone in my family has or carries a disease, might my children develop it or pass it on? How is it inherited and is there a way to test for it?
- What are the features of this condition and how is it treated?
- What does the genetic testing process involve (e.g. blood draw, cheek swab, biopsy of embryos, testing of the pregnancy)? How long do the results take and how much does it cost? Who will give me the results?
- What are the risks, benefits, and limitations of the test I am considering? How reliable are the results? Is there a chance for no results or inconclusive results?