Genetic counseling is the process of providing insight and assistance to people who have someone affected by hereditary conditions within their family or who themselves carry the risk for developing said conditions. Genetic counseling includes the following:
- Helping the client better understand medical facts, his/her diagnosis as well as the possible evolution of the condition;
- Helping the client in choosing the correct test and correctly interpreting the results and helping;
- Helping the client better understand the inherited factors for certain diseases as well as quantifying the risk for the conditions eventual reappearance within other family members;
- Helping the client better understand the variety of alternative ways in which the condition can manifest itself;
- Helping the client choose the best and most appropriate treatment option for conditions that are already manifested;
- Choose a precise treatment option which is tailored for the client and his or her family as well as taking into consideration ethical and religious standards.
Both young and old, men and women, sick and healthy, which choose to undergo the procedure of genetic counseling and precise diagnosis are well aware of the impact that genetics has on their lives.
One of the most important tasks in genetic counseling is helping people from high risk families plan their families. The main focus of genetic counseling in this case is quantifying and relaying all of the risks involved. When all of this is said and done, the final decision falls on the family. This is the principle of free choice and autonomy. In essence we wish to inform the client as best as we can in order for them to make an “educated choice”. Making an educated choice, when it comes to planning a family, available to the clients, as well as informing them as much as possible is one of the most important tasks in genetic counseling. One of the principles of genetic counseling is privacy. The information provided to us as well as the results from genetic tests must and shall remain private and protected in order to prevent any form of manipulation and misuse of said data.
The steps and processes of genetic counseling:
The process of genetic counseling is made of a couple of key steps:
- Scheduling an appointment
- The gathering of the necessary data (the client is also needed)
– Family history
– Current medical conditions as well as data that is medically relevant and needed for a precise diagnosis
- The evaluation of the gathered data (the client is not needed)
o- The evaluation of data can take anywhere between a couple days and a couple of months
- Reporting the results to the client (via phone, email or in person)
- The suggestion of the appropriate genetic test
-The client gets all the information about said test, including the price, laboratory, and interpretation of the results.
- A suggestion for precise therapy and better management of the condition