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What to Ask Your Genetic Counselor

Information To Prepare You For A Visit To A Genetic Counselor

mother and babyWhat is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling involves working with an individual or family at potential risk for an inherited condition or birth defect. It relies on communication skills to help individuals and families to understand how inheritance works and what causes genetic conditions. Counseling may be provided by specially trained counselors, physicians or nurses.

There are four basic steps in providing genetic counseling services:


This requires taking an accurate and detailed family and medical history and possibly conducting a physical examination and laboratory testing.

Information Counseling

Communicating information and education to the patient and family is an important step in the process.

Supportive Counseling

Providing emotional and psychological support for families, as well as referral to support groups concerning a specific condition, is an important role for the genetic counselor.


The counseling session and the long-term medical recommendations should be summarized in a follow-up letter to the patient.

Who Benefits from Genetic Services?

What Should You Ask a Genetic Counselor?

For more information, please contact Illinois Department of Public Health, Genetics Program, 535 W. Jefferson, 2nd Floor Springfield, IL 62761, 217-785-8101, TTY (hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466

535 West Jefferson Street Springfield, Illinois 62761 · Phone 217-782-4977 · Fax 217-782-3987 · TTY 800-547-0466
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