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Genetics

Genetic Counselling

If you have questions about your genetic risks or genetic testing, you may be eligible for a referral to the Clinical and Metabolic Genetics Program for genetic counselling. Medical geneticists and genetic counsellors are trained to help you and your family understand your or your child’s risk of having a genetic condition. They understand how a genetic condition can impact your physical and emotional heath and can help you make informed decisions about screening for genetic conditions and genetic testing that are right for you. Genetic counselling can also help you understand:

  • your risk of carrying a gene mutation or having a child with an inherited genetic condition
  • if your family history puts you or your children at risk for having a genetic condition
  • if your family history or genetics will impact you or your children’s health
  • if genetic testing is right for you
  • what you need to consider if you’re pregnant and thinking about screening for genetic conditions and genetic testing

Medical geneticists and genetic counsellors are trained to help you understand your risks of carrying a gene mutation and having a child with an inherited or genetic condition, such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, or hemophilia. Genetic counselling can also involve talking to you about your chance of developing a genetic condition later on in life. In most cases, genetic counselling needs to be done before genetic testing since genetic testing can have a major impact on you and your family. All information shared with you and your counsellor is private and confidential.

During genetic counselling you may:

  • talk about the problems a specific genetic condition may cause
  • learn how a specific condition is inherited or passed from you or your partner to your child
  • talk about testing for an inherited or genetic condition before you become pregnant or before your child is born
  • talk about your chances of having a child with an inherited or genetic condition, based on test results
  • learn about how genetics may put you at risk for certain common diseases that are reported in your family history
  • talk about the benefits and limitations of genetic testing

Genetic counselling can help you and your family:

  • understand medical facts, including what causes diseases, how a diagnosis is made, and what you may be able to do to help manage a genetic condition
  • understand how your family history is linked to a genetic condition
  • understand what you can do to help prevent or treat a disease or illness
  • learn about caring for a family member who has a genetic condition, including getting referrals to specialists or joining support groups

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