What Is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling gives people an opportunity to sit down with a trained health professional to discuss their risk for a genetic disease and to decide if they want to be tested.

A genetic counselor will do the following:

  • Take a detailed family and medical history
  • Assess an individual's risk for having a genetic mutation
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of genetic testing
  • Discuss testing options and talk about what each option means
  • Explain the options available if you are found to carry a genetic mutation
  • Discuss the implications of genetic testing for other family members

The genetic counselor's role is to help the patient to become well informed and to make the decision that is best for him or her. It is important to understand that even if you are found to be at a higher risk for carrying a mutation, you may decide, after counseling, not to be tested.