Reproductive genetic counseling

Reproductive genetic counseling

Planning for your family

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, genetic counseling can help you better understand genetic issues that could impact the health of your baby.

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  • Reasons for reproductive genetic counseling

    A health care provider may recommend genetic counseling for a wide range of reasons, including, but not limited to:

    • Reproductive risks stemming from family or personal history of a genetic condition, birth defect, or intellectual disability
    • Mother being 35 years old or more at time of delivery
    • Abnormal genetic testing or ultrasound results
    • Exposure to medications or other agents that may cause harm, including use of drugs and/or alcohol
    • Multiple pregnancy losses
    • Infertility suspected of having a genetic cause
  • What happens in a genetic counseling session?

    Labcorp offers two different types of genetic counseling sessions: genetic results counseling and comprehensive genetic counseling. Discuss with your doctor which type of genetic counseling session is right for you.

    Genetic results counseling is focused specifically on an explanation of your LabCorp or Integrated Genetics test results. These sessions take place over the phone and usually last 15 minutes. There is no additional charge for genetic results counseling.

    Comprehensive genetic counseling sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes and are often available as a virtual appointment, allowing for interaction with a genetic counselor by video. The information discussed will vary from person to person, but generally, the following is included:  ​

    • A review of your medical history and relevant medical records for information about genetic risks to a pregnancy
    • A three-generation family tree is drawn to evaluate your family history for genetic risk factors
    • A review of available relevant genetic testing
    • Genetic risk-assessment based on the information provided
    • Discussion of appropriate genetic testing options—the choice is yours whether or not to have any genetic testing; you will have an opportunity to ask questions about your genetic risks and the benefits and limitations of testing.
  • What tests might be discussed?
    • Ultrasound (sonograms): review ultrasound findings or what an ultrasound may detect
    • Chromosome screening tests: blood tests such as noninvasive prenatal screenings (NIPS/NIPT) that screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities, which indicate the risk of conditions such as Down syndrome
    • Diagnostic testing for chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders using chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis
    • Carrier screening for genetic disorders found both in the general population and those more commonly found in people of your ethnic background
    • Other specialty testing indicated based on your medical history
  • How is genetic counseling billed?
    • Results counseling is included in the original cost of testing 
    • Comprehensive genetic counseling is billed separately from a standard visit to your doctor
    • Your health insurance information will be collected and a claim will be sent to your insurance company after the counseling session. Comprehensive genetic counseling is often a covered service, however, you will be responsible for any charges that your insurance company does not cover, which may include a co-pay or deductible.
  • Planning for your session
    • Gather medical history information about your family members, including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.  Ask family members about genetic conditions (e.g., cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, etc.), birth defects or intellectual disabilities (such as autism or Down syndrome).
    • Collect records of any genetic testing you may have had in the past to bring with you 
    • Include your partner in the genetic counseling appointment to allow your genetic counselor to review medical history from both sides of the family and discuss relevant testing
    • Check with your insurance company about coverage

Additional Resources