Woman’s genetic counselors are trained healthcare professionals who can help a woman understand her genetic risks for certain diseases, such as cancer, or for passing an existing disease on to a child.
If you are concerned about diseases that run in your family you should consider genetic counseling.
Genetic Counseling for Pregnancy
Each person has more than 100,000 genes that direct the growth and development of every part of the body. These genes carry instructions for dominant or recessive traits that can be passed on to a child.
People who might be especially interested in genetic counseling for pregnancy include:
- Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant after age 35
- Couples who are first cousins or otherwise related by blood
- Couples who belong to certain racial/ethnic groups that have a higher incidence of a particular genetic disease
- Couples who have had repeated miscarriages
If one parent has the gene for a dominant condition, there is a 50 percent chance that each child of that parent will have the same condition.
Examples of birth defects caused by dominant inheritance are:
- Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism
- Huntington disease, a progressive nervous system disorder
- Marfan syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder
If both parents carry the same recessive gene, there is a 25 percent chance that each child will have the disorder associated with that gene.
Examples of recessive disorders are:
- Sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder
- Tay-Sachs disease, which causes mental retardation and death
- Cystic fibrosis, a disorder of the lungs and digestive system.
The good news is that wokring with your obstetrician, we can provide screenings and expert advice at Woman's Hospital.
Genetic Counseling for Diseases in Adults
Women who might be especially interested in genetic testing regarding disease specific genes include:
- Strong family histories of certain cancers
- High risk ethnic groups
Should it be necessary, Woman’s genetics team can work with your oncologists and breast surgeons in determining a need for genetic testing and your course of treatment.