In Mayo Clinic's Department of Medical Genetics, medical geneticists and certified genetic counselors work together as a team, with other professionals as needed, to evaluate virtually any genetic condition and coordinate a wide array of tests and procedures.
If you're adopted or you don't know much about your family history, a visit to Medical Genetics may be helpful if a genetic condition is suspected.
A genetic counselor is trained in genetics and genetic counseling. To learn about your family medical history, he or she asks you many questions about your personal medical history and your family's health history.
A genetic counselor may tell you about:
- Your risk of certain genes or conditions
- The choices you have about whether to get genetic testing
- Your chances of passing a genetic disorder to your children
- The options and risks of genetic testing for you, a family member or an unborn child
- The benefits of telling your family about an inherited disorder
- How inherited disorders may affect you and your family
A medical geneticist is a physician with expertise in genetics who makes or confirms a genetic diagnosis. He or she may do a physical exam, order tests to confirm a diagnosis, explain the diagnosis, and help create a treatment plan for you.
Testing usually requires a blood sample — or in some cases a sample of hair, skin or other tissue. The samples are sent to a lab for analysis. Later, a geneticist or genetic counselor reviews the test results with you.
Learn more about genetic testing.
A report about your medical genetics evaluation will be mailed to you upon completion. Mayo Clinic requires a valid Authorization to Release Protected Health Information on file to release medical information to providers outside of Mayo Clinic.