Genetic counseling helps families understand information about birth defects, inherited (genetic) conditions, and the effects of exposure (i.e. medications) on the developing baby. During your counseling session with a licensed genetic counselor, you will review detailed information about your family and medical history. If there is a family history of a genetic disorder, the counselor will also provide up-to-date information about genetic tests, treatments, research options, support organizations, and community resources. Some genetic conditions are known to occur more commonly in certain ethnic groups. These issues can be discussed and testing may be available to assess whether your baby is at an increased risk for these conditions.
Prenatal genetic counseling is often recommended for any of the following reasons:
- You or your partner has a family history of a genetic condition (e.g. muscular dystrophy), birth defect (e.g. cleft lip/palate) or mental retardation.
- A prenatal screening test indicates that your baby is at increased risk for certain birth defects.
- You will be 35 or older at delivery.
- An ultrasound examination has determined a birth defect in the developing baby.
- You have a history of multiple pregnancy losses (miscarriages) or a stillbirth.
- You or your partner has had a positive screen for cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia or another genetic condition.
- You have a medical condition that is associated with an increased risk of birth defects (i.e. diabetes).
- You and your partner are blood relatives.
- You have been exposed to certain medications or other agents [Link to Adverse Pregnancy Exposures above] that may cause birth defects such as alcohol, street drugs, chemicals or infections during your pregnancy
- You and your partner have concerns about the possibility of having a child with a birth defect or genetic condition and wish to learn more about available testing.
For more information, please contact the Center for Prenatal Diagnosis at (317) 415-8070 or the Maternal Fetal Medicine and Genetics Center at (317) 415-8100.