What is genetic counselling?

Genetic counselling is the process of providing information and support to individuals and families, who are affected by, or are at risk of, genetic conditions. This service is aimed at helping individuals and families understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of the genetic condition. It also facilitates informed decision-making about genetic testing.



This service offers a discussion about genetic testing, before you fall pregnant, to determine whether you and your partner are at risk of having babies with a genetic syndrome.


This service is offered during a pregnancy and entails a discussion about the various testing options while being pregnant. The options include various screening tests for specifically…


This service is offered to parents who have a child with a genetic syndrome (for example Cystic Fibrosis, Edward syndrome, Down syndrome, Fragile-X syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome…


This service is offered to adults who either have, or are at risk of, inheriting a genetic condition. This counselling service is aimed at explaining the diagnosis, how it was passed down…


This service is offered to all individuals who has a personal and/or family history suggestive of an inherited cancer syndrome. If you have had cancer at a young age and/or have…

What does a genetic counselling session entail?

A genetic counselling session starts off with gathering information regarding an individual’s personal and family medical history. Based on this information, the diagnosis or risk of having a certain genetic syndrome is discussed. A genetic counsellor gives a detailed explanation about the features and management options of the condition. Furthermore, how the condition is passed down through the family is explained as well as the possible risk of occurrence or recurrence. 

 If appropriate, genetic testing options are discussed, either to confirm a diagnosis or to determine the risk of developing a genetic condition. The possible outcome, benefits and limitations of each option is discussed. A genetic counsellor ensures that you make an informed decision regarding genetic testing, that the correct genetic test is requested and that the results are interpreted correctly. If genetic testing has been requested, the result is discussed as well as the implications it may have for the individual and his/her family. 

A genetic counselling consultation is lengthy and lasts for about an hour to an hour and a half. The individuals and families are encouraged to share their concerns and experiences, as well as to ask all the questions they have regarding the condition. 


Who will benefit from genetic counselling?

You are planning a pregnancy and would like to know if you and your partner are carriers of common genetic conditions, in order to determine your risk of having an affected baby.

You are pregnant and your pregnancy is at high risk of a genetic condition due to the ultrasound findings, screening test results, a personal or family history of a genetic syndrome, your age (older than 35 years) or your ancestry (Ashkenazi Jewish).

You have several family members affected by cancer or the same disease which raises the suspicion of an inherited syndrome.

You are concerned about your risk of developing cancer or a specific genetic condition as you have several affected family members.

You have been diagnosed with a rare cancer and/or at a young age (younger than 50 years).

You, your child or close family member was recently diagnosed with a genetic syndrome.

The laws of genetics apply, even if you refuse to learn them. – Alison Plowden

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