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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Have you or a family member just received a diagnosis of an inherited condition? Do you have a family history of a genetic condition, and think you may be affected or at risk? Are you concerned about having a child with an inherited condition?
These are all reasons people seek genetic counseling. Geneticists (physicians trained in genetics) and genetic counselors provide genetic counseling, and are an integral part of the Division of Genetics and Genomics and its specialty programs.
Genetic counselors are trained to help families understand complex genetic issues while supporting their emotional needs. They can provide you with detailed information on genetic testing options, and arrange testing for you or your child and family members. If you or your child has an inherited condition, the counselor can help you understand more about the condition, its cause, its medical implications and how that condition may run in families.
Our genetic counselors also work closely with the Advanced Fetal Care Center (AFCC), which supports the needs of expectant families whose unborn babies have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having congenital anomalies, from diagnosis and counseling through treatment and follow-up.
Genetic counseling sessions generally last 30-60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the disorder.
Genetic counselors have a minimum of a master’s degree in genetic counseling or a related field, including extensive training in human genetics, medical genetics, molecular genetics, and counseling. The American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) offers a certification examination for this discipline. All genetic counselors in Massachusetts are licensed by the Board of Registration of Genetic Counselors.
Prospective parents may want to consider genetic counseling before pregnancy if either parent has an inherited condition or is a known or suspected carrier. Parents with a family history of any inherited disorder should also consider genetic counseling, as should parents with a previous child or a family history of any of the following:
Prenatal genetic counseling is also recommended when:
If you unsure about whether to have genetic counseling, a genetic counselor in the Clinical Genetics Program can discuss your situation with you and help you decide whether genetic counseling or another type of evaluation would be helpful.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”