Thursday, May 26, 2011

Genetic Counseling- A new trend in becoming a Parent

If a couple wants to have children,  before the pregnancy , it is best for them to have genetic counseling. What is Genetic Counseling and why it is needed to have a normal and healthy children?

Genetic counseling is done by genetic counselors who take the genetic history of the family. Questions are ask for history of retardation, history of miscarriages, a child with birth defects, other diseases or problems or anyone with severe learning problems. A family tree will be drawn ,starting with the couples, their parents,brothers. sisters,nieces,nephews,aunts,uncles, first cousins and if possible, the grandparents. This is to draw out possibiities of any suspected genetic problem. When the woman is suspected pregnant, a prenatal test of the fetus is recommended. If all test results are nergative,it can alliviates anxiety and when  a serious defect is found, arrangement for delivery and treatment by appropriate trained specialist can benifits the child.

Hundreds of genetic diseases can now be detected prenatally but in some cases,genetic counseling can have limitations as some genetic diseases can not be diagnosed prenatally unless there is a reason to look for them. Genetic counseling mainly lies on the premise of knowing what to look for.

 Who can benefit from genetic counseling?
  • Parents who can have a child with a defect
  • Couples who have three or more miscarriages
  • Parents with a genetic disease or a history of a genetic disease
  • Parents from an ethnic group with high risk for certain genetic disease
  • a pregnant woman whose sonogram shows a possibility of fetal abnormality

Genetic counseling is better done before pregnancy and the earlier the couple decides about this is best.  DNA test for genetic diseases requires blood sampling taken from parents and siblings. It is best to be cleared and throw anxiety out.

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