Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling helps to identify the odds of passing a genetic disorder to your children. It also helps in effective management of such disorders. Genetic Disorders are caused by the defect in genes (genes contain DNA-the basic building block of heredity. Genes are arranged in a specific pattern within the chromosomes. Chromosomes of both the parents are inherited by the child). It could also be caused by a gene mutation (error occurring during cell division). Some of the Genetic Disorders are

 Genetic Counseling

  • Downs Syndrome

  • Cystic Fibrosis

  • Sickle Cell Disease

  • Tay-Sachs Disease (fatal disease affecting the Central Nervous System)

  • Spina bifida

 

Most of these diseases require inheritance of the gene from both parents for example Sickle Cell disease, Cystic Fibrosis. Some of them like Huntington’s disease (a degenerative nerve disease) is inherited from one parent. Some may also be caused by gene mutation for example achondroplasia (commonest from of dwarfism).

 

Genetic test results are not easily interpreted. A genetic counselor interprets these results and provides possible solutions. They even address the emotional issues associated with it.

 

When should one undergo Genetic Counseling?

 

  • Before conceiving if one or both parents maybe carriers of certain genetic disorders or there is a history of genetic disorders or cancer. This is the best time for a counselor can assess the risk factors and suggest alternative solutions like adoption, using donor sperms/eggs etc.

  • Once pregnant, if the mother is diagnosed with a risk of genetic disorders. Risks are identified using screening or diagnosis. On early detection, parents can make a decision on whether to continue with the pregnancy or not. In some cases like spina bifida or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, fetal surgery can be performed.

  • After the birth of the child with a genetic condition. In this case the genetic condition is explained and the possibility of recurrence is evaluated.

 

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