Genetic Counseling (cont.)

How do I find a genetic professional?

Your health care provider may refer you to a genetic professional. Universities and medical centers also often have affiliated genetic professionals, or can provide referrals to a genetic professional or genetics clinic.

As more has been learned about genetics, genetic professionals have grown more specialized. For example, they may specialize in a particular disease (such as cancer genetics), an age group (such as adolescents) or a type of counseling (such as prenatal).

How do I decide whether I need to see a geneticist or other specialist?

Comment on this

Your health care provider may refer you to a geneticist - a medical doctor or medical researcher - who specializes in your disease or disorder. A medical geneticist has completed a fellowship or has other advanced training in medical genetics. While a genetic counselor or genetic nurse may help you with testing decisions and support issues, a medical geneticist will make the actual diagnosis of a disease or condition. Many genetic diseases are so rare that only a geneticist can provide the most complete and current information about your condition.

Along with a medical geneticist, you may also be referred to a physician who is a specialist in the type of disorder you have. For example, if a genetic test is positive for colon cancer, you might be referred to an oncologist. For a diagnosis of Huntington disease, you may be referred to a neurologist.

These online resources can help you find a genetic professional in your community:

  • ResourceLink
    A database of genetics counseling services, searchable by location, name, institution, type of practice or specialty. Hosted by the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

  • Genetic Centers, Clinics and Departments
    A comprehensive resource list for genetic counseling, including links to genetic centers and clinics, associations, and university genetics departments. Hosted by the University of Kansas Medical Center.

  • GeneClinics
    A searchable directory of international genetics and prenatal diagnosis clinics.

SOURCE: National Human Genome Research Institute, "Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Counseling."


Last Editorial Review: 7/9/2009


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Genetic Counseling - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with receiving genetic counseling.
Genetic Counseling - Geneticist or Other Specialist Question: What influenced your decision to see a geneticist or other specialist? Please share your story.