Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Genetic-counseling services are located in most large medical centers and at all university teaching hospitals. Family physicians, pediatricians, and obstetricians are all good sources of information and referrals on genetic disorders.

Couples come to questions involving genetics in several ways. When a baby with a congenital abnormality is born, or when there is a stillbirth, parents understandably seek to find out the cause of the defect and the chances of recurrence. Recurrent miscarriages also raise the question of a genetic cause. Among those who should seek counseling are people in the following groups:
  • Couples who already have a child with some serious defect, such as Down syndrome, open neural tube defect, congenital heart disease, a malformed limb, or mental retardation
  • Couples with a family history of a genetic disease or mental retardation
  • Couples who are blood relatives (first or second cousins)
  • Women who are taking drugs known to cause fetal defects
  • Women who have had multiple X rays taken early in pregnancy
  • Women who have had two or more of the following in any combination: stillbirths, deaths of newborn babies, miscarriages
  • Women thirty-five years old or older

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