Genetic and Reproductive Counselling Unit
Individual reproductive counselling by means of a multidisciplinary approach with state-of-the-art techniques
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Genetic counselling is a communicative process whereby genetic specialists provide information and support to patients and their families regarding their genetic condition, their family heritage, the risks of recurrence and their implications for individuals and families.
The final goal of the genetic counselling process is to facilitate making a decision in agreement with the patient’s values and beliefs, and act in accordance with the decision made.
In the specific case of reproductive counselling, it seeks to promote counselling services among couples in their reproductive age wishing to conceive and/or currently expecting.
Reproductive counselling can be provided to anyone in their reproductive age. Generally, there are two types of patients requiring reproductive counselling. Although there are significant differences between both, the aims of counselling remain the same. These are:
- Counselling patients regarding the risks and/or recurrence of diseases in their offspring.
- Preventing and/or treating them.
- Evaluating the prognostic implications for the foetus, the siblings and other family members, particularly those who are also in their reproductive age.
Essentially, there are two groups of patients who are eligible for reproductive treatment, depending on the moment when counselling is provided. The reasons for receiving counselling are different, as can be seen below:
- Women/Not-expecting couples:
- A family with serious and/or genetic known diseases.
- Parents carrying a genetic abnormality.
- A previous unfavourable pregnancy, which resulted in:
Legal Termination of Pregnancy (LTP).
A sick child (alive or deceased).
Foetal death (intrauterine foetal demise).
- Consanguineous couples.
- Couples with recurrent miscarriage and/or previous chromosomopathies.
- Patients who wish to receive preconception genetic counselling.
- During pregnancy:
- Detecting genetic abnormalities in the foetus.
- Fetal malformations.
It is a fully individualised process. It varies drastically depending on the patient’s background and the questions that s/he wishes to have addressed and answered. Therefore, the type of diagnostic and therapeutic tests that are performed also vary from case to case.
Overall, patients are informed about the type of disease they may have, their prognosis and the risks of recurrence (or reappearance), and about the tools we have nowadays at our disposal in each particular case to prevent it and/or treat it. Their background and their personal decision are always taken into consideration.