What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic Counseling is a very important part of both pre-conception and pre-natal care. The role of a genetic counselor is to assess genetic risks for a couple and provide education and support for couples considering genetic testing. Counseling sessions typically involve reviewing a couple’s complete family medical history and discussing genetic testing options. Understanding a couple’s risk for passing on genetic diseases can greatly enhance patient outcomes. For patients seeking fertility care, genetic screening tests can provide insight into the possible risks couples may have to pass on a genetic disease, or for their pregnancy to be affected with chromosome abnormalities. For couples pursuing IVF, pre-implantation genetic testing can significantly improve pregnancy rates, by identifying those embryos that are genetically and chromosomally normal. The goal of genetic counseling is to guide patients through the decision-making process by explaining complicated genetic concepts in a way that is easily understood. These decisions can greatly impact a couple’s future family planning and health. Our Board Certified Genetic Counselor, Tracy Gardner MS, LCGC, comes with 25 years experience, and is passionate about helping families understand the complexities of their genetic make up.
Good Candidates for Genetic Counseling:
All RAD patients are offered carrier screening for common genetic diseases. However patients with the following histories may consider further genetic counseling:
- History of multiple miscarriages
- Family history of genetic diseases
- Patient or partner is a carrier for a genetic disease
- Advanced Maternal Age (35 years and older) for a singleton pregnancy or Advanced Paternal age (40 years or older)
Genetic Testing Offered at RAD:
Genetic Carrier Screenings are available for all patients considering starting a family. This testing screens patients for a variety of the most commonly diagnosed genetic diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X and SMA.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing
Patients undergoing IVF treatment may consider utilizing Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing. Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening and Diagnosis determine the genetic and chromosomal health of an embryo. This testing can greatly enhance pregnancy rates, as embryologists can identify the healthiest embryos for transfer. To learn more about PGD and PGS, click here.
Tracy Gardner, MS LCGC
As a genetic counselor, one of the greatest joys of my job is getting to know people of all different backgrounds and histories. I truly enjoy helping couples understand the complexities of their individual genetics. My role is to provide patients with the knowledge and support they need to make the most informed decisions about their care. This includes reviewing a couples’ complete family medical history and genetic testing options. Especially for those dealing with infertility, there are a multitude of choices available to determine patients’ genetic make-up as well as the genetic composition of their embryos. Whether a couple opts for pre-implantation genetic testing while pursuing IVF, or has general concerns about their risk for genetic diseases, I look forward to guiding patients through complex decision making. For the past 25 years my work has been focused primarily on prenatal genetic counseling, so I am very excited to venture into the world of fertility care.
- Board Certified: American Board of Medical Genetics, Diplomate of American Board of Genetic Counseling
- MS: Genetic Counseling, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
- BA: Yale University, New Haven, CT
- Licensed Genetic Counselor, Delaware