Genetic counseling

Am J Hum Genet. 1974 Sep;26(5):636-59.


PIP: A workshop was sponsored by the National Genetics Foundation to evaluate and make recommendations about the status of genetic counseling, its goals, nature, achievements, and needs. The process of genetic workup and counseling is divided into 5 stages: validation of the diagnosis; obtaining family history; estimation of the risk of recurrence; helping the family make a decision and take appropriate action; and extending counseling to other members of the family. Counseling can be directed at individuals or at special groups with the potential of carrying such diseases as sickle cell amenia or Tay-Sachs. No consensus exists on an optimal counseling approach. Genetic counseling is regarded as a team effort, requiring, in addition to the counselor, laboratory facilities and a variety of specialists. The source of payment for genetic counseling services is regarded as a problem of increasing concern. Generally, the fee paid rarely covers the cost of the many procedures and it is suggested that the cost, like that of other public health services, should be subsidized by the state. Considerable argument exists over whether a genetic counselor must have a M.D. degree or whether a Ph. D. in medical genetics is suitable enough. The quality of much genetic counseling, which is often done in the office of doctors unskilled in the field, would be increased if better training in genetics were offered to medical students and if physicians were informed of the existence of counseling centers. Further, there is a growing feeling that some sort of accreditation of genetic counselors is desirable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Therapeutic
  • Amniocentesis
  • Contraception
  • Dermatoglyphics
  • Education, Graduate
  • Education, Medical
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Financing, Personal
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis
  • Pedigree
  • Pregnancy
  • Probability
  • Psychology
  • Time Factors