FAQs: Genetic Counseling

Answers for patients about genetic counseling

Genetic counselors have training in medical genetics and counseling to help guide patients who need information about genetic conditions or conditions that may run in their family. Genetic counselors work in clinical settings (as part of a healthcare team), laboratory settings, or research settings. Clinical genetic counselors are experts at explaining complex genetic information, reviewing family history to understand the risk of genetic disease, helping individuals understand what their genetic test results may mean for themselves and family members, and providing emotional support and resources to empower you with information about your healthcare.
You may be referred to a genetic counselor by a doctor (such as an obstetrician, oncologist, or medical geneticist) to discuss your family history and genetic risks, or before or after having genetic testing. While genetic counselors are not medical doctors, they are part of your healthcare team and work with you and your doctor to help you understand:
• Genetic risks based on your family history
• Your genetic risks for certain diseases or cancer
• Whether genetic testing might be right for you
• What the results of genetic tests may mean for you and your family
More information about genetic counseling can be found on the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) website: https://www.nsgc.org/

The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) has a great web-based tool to locate a Genetic Counselor for either an in-person or telehealth visit. The link to the website can be found here: https://findageneticcounselor.nsgc.org/