dna strand

GENETIC

Genetic Counselor

Do you have a genetic problem? Is a family member of yours born with a birth defect? Are you satisfied with how your doctors explained the condition?  Probably not.   Most people who have genetic problems are left with a lot of questions in their mind regarding their health and overall status.  Doctors may have given them the right diagnosis but they are left hanging, wondering what is going to happen to them in the future.  This is a natural reaction when information given is lacking.  And no matter how hard one might ask, they are not given sufficient answers.

If this is what you are feeling then you should consult a genetic counselor.   They are people, still a part of the health care profession, who are knowledgeable and trained about genetic conditions and about how these can be properly managed.  They are able to give guidance and support.   They act on the behalf of the patient referring them to the right agencies for assistance.  Thus, they are able to give the right direction.

Human genetics is a very advanced concept.  It can give explanations regarding some medical condition; however, it is still in its early stages.  People who have genetic disorders and their families do not really understand the impact of this condition to their lives.  It is therefore, the task of a genetic counselor to work with medical practitioners to assist families in understanding the condition.

Most families would have questions regarding the specifics of a disease and the screening procedures.  Others might question if there are others who have the same condition and what happened to them.  Some might be at a dilemma whether to undergo specific tests for fear of what they might discover.  Still there are others who are worried as to whether they are going to inherit the disease of their parents or siblings.  For all these queries, the right person to ask would be the genetic counselor since compared to doctors, they are able to accurately translate broad and difficult genetic concepts into words which are understandable to those concerned.

Before one becomes a genetic counselor, one needs to undergo some preliminary courses like biology, genetics, psychology, nursing, social work, and public health.  This gives him the knowledge about the whole concept of genetics, the ability to understand the human psyche, the caring quality, and the concern for the patient and their families.

They not only help those who have known genetic conditions but also help in identifying those who are at risk for having one.  They would trace up one’s genetic pattern, analyze data, calculate the chances for recurrence, and review options available with them.

A genetic counselor can work in many areas of the community.  Aside from being resource persons, they can become educators, advocates, and researchers.  They can also become administrators of related agencies. 

Since genetic testing is still not that widespread particularly in third world countries, genetic counsellors are not very common.  In time, this career will be popular as soon as people come to realize how important their genes are.

Where there's a will there's a way.

Anybody can do anything that he imagines. - Henry Ford