What is Fertility/Preconception Genetic Counseling

Preconception genetic counseling allows individuals of all backgrounds to discuss their personal and family histories as well as genetic testing options before becoming pregnant. These tests include carrier screening and embryo testing such as PGT-A and PGT-M. Not only does this allow for general risk assessment but also in-depth embryo analysis and discussion. 

What is a genetic counselor?

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with a specialized graduate degree that combines medical genetics and psychosocial counseling. They are trained to interpret test results and explain information to patients in a way that is easy to understand. Whether it is carrier screening, embryo testing, or other results, this information can impact your fertility journey in important ways. 

Who should consider genetic testing?

CDC reports show that 1 out of every 33 infants born in the U.S. is born with a birth defect. Some birth defects are minor, and some can be debilitating for families. The chance of your baby being born with certain birth conditions can be eliminated through proper preventative screening. With genetic counseling, you can avoid passing certain genetic markers that can cause conditions/defects.

Family history and ethnicity can both be indicators of risk for certain genetic disorders.

Quick examples:

  • Eastern European Jews have a higher chance of carrying Tay-Sachs Disease compared to the general population.
  • Caucasian individuals have a higher chance of carrying Cystic Fibrosis compared to the general population.
  • African Americans, as well as those of Mediterranean descent (Italian, Greek, Middle-Eastern), have a higher chance of carrying Alpha or Beta Thalassemias or Sickle Cell Anemia, compared to the general population.

Of course, there are other conditions that can be ruled out by genetic screening/testing, such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Non-Syndromic Hearing Loss, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

There are certain risk factors that can indicate the potential need for genetic counseling. These include:

  • Female age is above 35
  • Multiple miscarriages
  • More than one IVF attempt
  • You are already aware of any developmental disorders that run in the family

Generally, any couple or woman trying to conceive can ask for genetic screening regardless of their risk level or background. Testing is done through a quick blood test. If the patient is a carrier, then the partner should be tested to make sure they are not also a carrier and minimize risk. See the below example.

Get to Know New Hopes Genetic Counselor

Sydney Bunshaft, MS, CGC is a board-certified genetic counselor with years of experience working with physicians and other medical professionals in the fertility field. She received her master’s degree from The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she completed hours of training in many specialties including prenatal, cancer, pediatrics, and others.

Why New Hope?

If you’re looking to explore fertility treatment options outside of tubal ligation reversal, we’d love to help you! At New Hope Fertility Center we customize your fertility treatment to your body, to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Our specialists believe in putting the patient first and being with them through every step of the fertility journey. As the first facility to adopt the revolutionary Mini IVF protocol, our team is well versed in helping women of all ages reach their fertility goals. If you want compassionate fertility care, New Hope is the right place for you. Call us at (347) 970-8479 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation today!