What is Genetic Counselling?
Genetic Counselling is a communication process for individuals and families affected by inherited (or genetic) health conditions. The purpose of Genetic Counselling is to provide up to date scientific and medical information about a genetic condition, in accessible layman’s terms. A Genetic Counsellor can also guide individuals, couples or families through the choices available to them with regards to genetic testing, having children and health screening.
Who is Genetic Counselling for?
In many cases, couples attend a genetic counselling appointment to discuss a known family history of a genetic condition, find out how it relates to them and their own future health, and understand their options for having children.
Following a Genetic Counselling appointment, genetic testing can reveal if an individual is a healthy carrier of a condition (for example with ‘recessive’ and ‘X-linked’ conditions).
For individuals at 50% risk of a ‘dominant’ genetic condition, Genetic Counselling can aid in the decision regarding whether to have a ‘predictive’ genetic test.
For couples who are at risk of having a child with a genetic condition, a Genetic Counselling appointment allows for discussion of options that would reduce their risk, or avoid, having an affected child. This can include, for example, prenatal diagnosis or preimplantation diagnosis.
What can I expect at my appointment?
A genetic counsellor will start by finding out what your questions are, so that priorities can be set for the session. The Genetic Counsellor will take a full family history, to assess the genetic risk in your family. Medical information may also be sought, in order to confirm the correct diagnosis in the family. Discussion can then cover the issues raised by genetic testing, choices for having children, and future health risks to family members.
Timeframes for genetic test results vary from days to months according to the specific genetic test required. Genetic test results may be conveyed by phone call, letter, or in person, according to the type of test, and its implications.
What happens after the test?
Depending on the results of genetic testing, or the genetic risk in the family, further appointments may be needed consider how the test results or risk assessment will impact on future decision making, for example when having children.
The Genetic Counsellor can also make specific arrangements where appropriate for further tests or treatments, for examples prenatal diagnosis or preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
Onward referral can also be made to other medical specialists who can advise on the management, treatment, or prevention of the symptoms of a genetic condition.
Why should I use CRGH?
CRGH is unique among fertility centres in the UK. It is the only one to have a UK-Registered Genetic Counsellor, Sara Levene, dedicated to offering a full genetic counselling service on site. At our central London location, Sara can accept private referrals for individuals, couples and families, who require a Genetic Counselling consultation.
Sara Levene is a senior and experienced Genetic Counsellor, who has worked with thousands of families affected by a range of rare and common genetic conditions. Sara has a particular interest in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and carrier screening programmes. She also leads the PGD programme and CRGH. Sara sits on the medical advisory committees of two different charities, sharing her genetic counselling expertise for their benefit.
We are excited that since Sara has joined the CRGH, we can now offer a full genetic counselling service to our patients.
Please note: for those with strong family history of cancer, who may be interested in genetic testing for cancer susceptibility genes, Sara can recommend an external colleague, as she does not specialise in Cancer Genetics.
How can I book an appointment?
Please use the main telephone and email details listed on the website