Genetic Counseling

If your child or other family members may have a genetic disease, they may seek genetic counseling and testing. Genetic counseling is a crucial Division of Genetic and Genomic Medicine service.

Genetic counselors are health professionals. They are not doctors. They do have advanced training in genetics and genetic counseling.

They have a master's degree from an accredited program. The American Board of Genetic Counselors certifies these health workers.

Genetic counselors can:

  • Help you know you or your child’s genetic risks based on family history.
  • Work with your child’s doctors to tailor a care plan to their unique needs.
  • Enable you and your child to make decisions about genetic testing.
  • Explain test results.
  • Help you and your child process the health and emotional outcomes of genetic testing.
  • Connect you and your child to resources, support groups, research, and others like you.

There are several ways to meet with a  genetic counselor:

  • As part of a visit to our Medical Genetics Clinic.
  • Through one of our other clinics.
  • Through the Genetic Counseling Service.

Genetic counselors staff the Genetic Counseling Service. The service counsels people before and after genetic testing. Counseling helps you make smart choices about your health based on your genetic testing results.

You will meet with a genetic counselor during your first visit with the Genetic Counseling Service. They will:

  • Discuss the genetic testing suggested by your child’s doctor.
  • Answer any of your questions.
  • Review your child’s growth and health history.
  • Discuss other family members' health.

This meeting helps make sure everyone we treat gets the right genetic testing.

The person getting tested or their legal guardian must be present during the visit. They'll need to give consent for testing. These are counseling-only visits, and the provider will not do a physical exam or take a blood sample.

If a person wants genetic testing, the genetic counselor will start the process. They'll work with the hospital's insurance authorization team to request coverage. After approval, the person getting tested will have their blood drawn at a UPMC Children's facility.

Other doctors may want to offer genetic testing to their patients. These doctors can refer people to the Genetic Counseling Service. Our division will then reach out to schedule the visit.

Sometimes, a person's health history is more complex than expected. The genetic counselor may suggest visiting the Medical Genetics Clinic first in these cases.

Learn more about the genetic counseling team on our providers and staff page.

Contact Us

To schedule a genetics appointment or consultation, please call 412-692-5070.