What to Expect at the Genetics Clinic Visit

As we learn more about the role of genes and the environment in a variety of birth defects, diseases and infertility, clinical geneticists and genetic counselors are able to provide answers to questions about hereditary disorders and discuss treatment options in an individualized manner.

Genetic evaluation

A genetic evaluation provides individuals and families with medical evaluation, laboratory testing, information, and referral services for conditions that are inherited or may be inherited.

Genetic counseling

Genetic counseling is the translation of complicated or technical genetic knowledge into practical information.  Genetic counselors and physicians help the individual or family:

  • Understand the medical facts including diagnosis, prognosis (predicted path of the condition), and available treatment
  • Understand how heredity contributes to the condition
  • Understand recurrence risks
  • Understand options for testing
  • Adjust to the information provided

Before the appointment

All pertinent medical records should be sent to us before the visit, so that we may review the information and make the most of the visit. Someone from the clinic may contact you ahead of time to specifically request records or additional information.

During the appointment

You can expect some or all of the following to happen at the appointment:

  • You may meet with a genetic counselor and/or fellow (a physician undergoing specialty training). You will also meet with a medical geneticist, who is a physician with special training in genetics.
  • A review of the individual's medical and developmental history
  • A review of the family tree
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory or other testing
  • Establishing a diagnosis, if possible
  • A discussion of prognosis and options for management
  • An explanation of the chance of other family members or children having the same concern

Plan to spend about one to two hours at your visit.  Additional visits may be needed to complete the evaluation and testing.

After the appointment

A summary of the visit will be sent to the referring physician.

Insurance coverage

Some insurance companies require physician referral and/or preauthorization for specialty services such as Genetics. It is best to check with your insurance company so you will be aware of any costs that are not covered. Bring a copy of the referral form with you. We recognize that some individuals or families are referred for concerns that need to be addressed quickly. Under these circumstances, your doctor's office can usually obtain a verbal referral for you. Bring a copy of your referral or authorization to the appointment, as well as your insurance card. Fees will vary depending on the complexity of the service and testing done.

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