Genetic Counselling

Our genetic counsellors help people whose pregnancy might be affected by a genetic condition or birth defect. We offer information and emotional support, and connect families to community resources. 

Genetic counsellors are health-care professionals with special education, training and experience in medical genetics and counselling.

You might choose to see a genetic counsellor if any of the following apply.

  • Prenatal screening such as the first trimester combined screening (FTS) or integrated prenatal screening (IPS) suggests that your pregnancy is more likely to be affected by a genetic condition. 
  • Prenatal tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) have diagnosed a genetic condition.
  • You have questions about diseases or genetic conditions in your family or your partner's family. Those conditions can include autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, birth defects, hearing or vision loss, blood disorders, muscular dystrophy, or any other inherited medical conditions.
  • You yourself have a chromosome abnormality.
  • You and your partner both carry the same genetic condition.
  • You already have a child with a intellectual disability, genetic condition or birth defect.
  • You have experienced three or more pregnancy losses or still births, or had a baby die in infancy before.
  • A genetic condition was diagnosed during newborn screening.
  • You have been exposed to substances that can be dangerous to your pregnancy. Those substances can include radiation, chemicals, drugs or infections.
  • You and your partner are first cousins or close blood relatives.

If any of the above applies to you, we encourage you to talk to your care provider who may refer you to a genetic counsellor.

What to expect

You will meet with a genetic counsellor to talk about your personal and family medical history.

It is important to us that you participate in decision-making about your care. We will help you understand your choices so that you can make the best possible decisions for you and your family.

We will respect your individual values while offering you support. Genetic counsellors can help you with the following. 

  • Giving you accurate information to help you make personal decisions about your pregnancy
  • Helping you understand the risks of any condition that might affect your pregnancy
  • Recommending and arranging for more tests such as an amniocentesis or CVS
  • If a genetic condition or birth defect is diagnosed, providing emotional support and connecting families with support groups