Group genetic counseling: An alternate service delivery model in a high risk prenatal screening population

Prenat Diagn. 2017 Nov;37(11):1112-1119. doi: 10.1002/pd.5149. Epub 2017 Oct 17.


Objective: To address the growing demand for prenatal genetic services, group genetic counseling was explored as an alternative service delivery model for women with a positive prenatal screening result.

Method: Women were recruited from a prenatal genetic service and systematically allocated to a traditional individual appointment with a genetic counselor or a group genetic counseling session. Questionnaires were administered to assess patient psychological outcomes, knowledge, and satisfaction following individual and group genetic counseling for a positive prenatal screen. Genetic counselor time per type of patient was measured.

Results: Of 172 participants, 107 (62.2%) received group genetic counseling and 65 (37.8%) received individual genetic counseling. Both group and individual genetic counseling encounters significantly decreased patient anxiety, increased perceived personal control, decreased decisional conflict, and increased knowledge. Satisfaction was high following both methods. Anxiety was significantly decreased in women who received individual genetic counseling compared with group sessions (P < .001). Genetic counselors spent less time per group patient seen compared with individual patients.

Conclusion: Group genetic counseling followed by the option of brief individual genetic counseling appears acceptable to women in a high-risk prenatal screening population. The findings support an alternative service delivery model for prenatal genetic services that could optimize the utilization of genetic counseling resources.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy