In the world around us today, the terms Genetic counseling is gradually gaining more and more prominence. The rise of this specific kind of counseling can be attributed to a large extent on the various diseases concerning the genetic formation that are present in the world today.
What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling can be defined to the process or service which is targeted towards individuals or families who have a member of the family as a victim of an illness which is associated with a genetic disorder. The use of the system of genetic counseling is generally suggested by the doctor of the individual who has been diagnosed by an illness which is caused by a genetic disorder and this practice is truer when the genetic disorder which has been detected can be said to be of an inherited nature.
Why is genetic counseling done?
The main aim of the service of genetic counseling is to provide advice and practical help to the patients as well as the families of the individuals who have been diagnosed with any of the illnesses which are associated with genetic disorders.
Through the process of genetic counseling, the families are advised of what the types and consequences of the illness in question, how it can be transmitted from one individual to the other as well as the various precautions they you can take as well to prevent the disease from affecting them. In other words, the process of genetic counseling helps the affected families to manage as well as safeguard the unaffected members as well as act as support for the affected members of the family.
The role of genetic counseling is considered to be of immense importance in the entirety of the process of the treatment of patients suffering from genetic diseases.
What are the required qualifications of the providers of genetic counseling?
There are some mandatory educational qualifications that are required of the providers of genetic counseling. Some of these qualifications include:
- The need for a specific curriculum of education which is then followed by a course of certification, which will give you a degree of Certified Generic Counselors or CGSs.
- Doctors as well as nurses who have enrolled for and have been provided certificates of CGS as well as other related degrees.
Besides these various educational certificates, a qualified genetic counselor also requires certain soft skills as well as good communication skills through which they can gauge the mental conditions of the patients as well as their families and can suggest emotional help which is in these cases often as important as the help offered by medicines as well as treatments.
How will I know if I need genetic counseling or not?
There are certain criteria which can suggest the need for genetic counseling for you and your family. It is important to keep in mind that the need for a genetic counseling should be first recognized by the certified medical practitioner who is treating you, who will then refer you and your family to a genetic counselor of repute who functions in a locality near you. Some of the reasons which might suggest the need for the service of a genetic counselor for you can include cases:
- You already have a medical condition which is due to a genetic disorder which you have inherited from your biological parents.
- If you are over the age of thirty five and are planning to conceive a baby.
- If you already have a child with a genetic disorder which is inherited
- If you have just had a baby and the newly born baby has been screened to have a genetic disorder.
- If you have had a prior miscarriages or have faced child loss in cases of newly born babies or infants more than once.
- If you feel that you have a lifestyle or job which is extremely stressful or have a past history of strong medical illnesses.
- You have been exposed to excessive smoking, drugs, or radiation.
- If you have close blood relatives who are suffering from any form of genetic disorder
- If you are pregnant and your tests have revealed that there can be certain genetic disorders that the to-be born baby may possess.
What can you expect to happen at a genetic counseling discussion?
When you have enrolled yourself for a discussion for a genetic counseling, there are certain things that you can expect the genetic counselor to do. These include:
- Your genetic counselor will record the medical history of your family and keep in mind certain illnesses that can take place as a result of genetic disorders and can be transmitted from one generation to the other.
- They can also arrange for certain tests to be conducted on you and your family that can ascertain the exact physical conditions that you are in at the moment as well as the risks that you are prone to.