Questions to ask your Genetic Counselor 

When you add a genetic counselor to your prenatal care team, you’ll get expert advice on how various medical conditions - both those which are inherited, as well as those which occur by chance or through environmental influences - may affect your pregnancy. If you’re considering meeting with a genetic counselor, doing a little prep work beforehand can help you get the most out of your appointment. 

What should you ask your genetic counselor?

Pro tip: If you’re considering a genetic consultation during or prior to pregnancy, try to make a list of your top questions before your appointment. It’s always easier to write down your questions as you think of them instead of trying to remember everything on the day of your visit!

These are a few of the most common questions expecting parents ask their genetic counselor (with expert answers from our very own genetic counselor, Katie Sagaser):

  • Are the results of my fetal sex test accurate?
    Good news! Non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS), sometimes called non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), typically has about 99% accuracy for detecting sex chromosomes.

  • Is it true that you can test for genetic conditions before conceiving?
    It’s possible to screen for some — but not all — inherited diseases before you conceive. This process is called carrier screening, and it can help you and your reproductive partner determine whether you’re at an increased risk to pass down different genetic conditions, even if those conditions have never shown up in your family before!

  • Will my baby be healthy?
    This is a very layered question, and each of those layers deserves attention and empathy without judgment. The genetic counselor’s job is to help expecting parents by answering their questions surrounding health and human disease and facilitating informed and empowered decisions that align with their needs, values, and goals. 

  • What if I don’t have detailed information about part of my family history? 
  • Don’t sweat it! Provide as much information as you have, and your genetic counselor will try their best to point you in the right direction. 

  • Does the condition I am concerned about, whether in me or in my family, have a genetic cause? If so, how is it inherited? 
  • This depends on the specific condition, and your genetic counselor should be able to help you understand your chance of passing on inherited conditions to your future children.

  • Are there other healthcare providers I should see as well?
    Depending on your concerns and the test results you provide your genetic counselor, they’ll guide you to the appropriate healthcare providers and resources. 

  • If you’re considering a genetics consultation during or prior to pregnancy, try to make a list of your top questions before your appointment.

    How can I prepare for my genetic counseling visit? 

    The best way to prepare for your appointment is to gather all your questions and medical information before you go. Your genetic counselor will ask you about your:

    • Concerns about any specific inherited conditions
    • Personal medical history (and your partner’s too, if needed)
    • Family health history, including any genetic conditions that run in your family
    • Results of any previous genetic tests

    Based on the information you give them, the genetic counselor will talk with you about any conditions for which you or your future child may have an increased risk. Finally, they’ll walk you through your options for additional tests and help you decide what to do next. 


    Please Be Aware: and the materials and information it contains are not intended to be and do not constitute medical advice, other health advice, or diagnosis.  Do not use or the materials and information published at as a substitute for medical care and treatment. You should always consult with a qualified physician or healthcare provider about your specific circumstances.  

    September 29, 2022 — Stephanie McClintock