Home Health & Food Why you need genetic counselling

Why you need genetic counselling

by James Davies


Abayomi Ajayi

When you are struggling to conceive, genetic counselling could be a lifesaver. An infertility genetic counsellor will not only work with you to become pregnant but can also help to minimise or eliminate the risk of transmitting genetic disorders to your unborn baby.

Genetic counselling is a specialty area of fertility treatment that more couples are taking up in the course of their reproductive health history. Basically, genetic counselling serves two functions. First, it helps identify whether there is a genetic condition in your lineage and whether it is connected to your infertility.

Several health conditions run in families such as sickle cell disease, congenital blindness, albinism, and others known as genetic or hereditary disorders. Such diseases that run in one or both families whether serious or not, and could be transmitted and put your unborn baby at increased risk, so it is a good idea to investigate or find out if the disorder has been passed on, even before the birth of the baby. This is where genetic counselling comes in.

If your grandparents or parents had a hereditary condition, you need genetic counselling and should contact a trained genetic counsellor – a health professional that is knowledgeable in genetics and counselling. Genetic counselling will help you to understand the impact of a potential genetic condition whether you carry the genes or not.

It is recommended that you embrace genetic counselling if you have concerns about your family’s genetic history, or you are trying to conceive, and looking for screening information about genetic conditions. The outcome will depend on your family history and other testing options recommended by the counsellor.

If you have reason to be concerned about the risk of hereditary conditions to your children, the sensible thing to do is to consult trained genetic counsellors for assistance and advice. These are specialists who will work closely with you and your spouse towards the procurement of accurate and personalised care that you need. In some fertility centres in Nigeria, there are genetic counsellors that can enlighten and educate you to understand whatever genetic or medical condition you have concerns over.

The associated risks, causes, and options of conceiving and giving birth to a healthy baby will be at your disposal.

The benefits of genetic counselling are numerous. As stated previously, you are provided with an increased level of understanding as well as the probability of the foetus being born with any particular hereditary disorder. The job of the genetic counsellor is to enable you to make informed decisions to prevent the unexpected. You will get better peace of mind, even if you are aware of a family history of a particular disease or condition. If the possibility of transmission is confirmed, it gives room for early intervention. Genetic testing can uncover hidden mutations that can lead to an increased risk of a deadly disease. The counsellors can enable and assist you to understand the condition and empower you to prevent its transmission to your yet-to-be-born child.

Counselling is key to patient-centred care for fertility treatment. A genetic counsellor can help you to determine what tests are most appropriate and how to proceed in the event of an abnormal result.

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