In Mayo Clinic's Department of Clinical Genomics, 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 Clinical Genomics may be helpful if a genetic condition is suspected.

Genetic counselor

A genetic counselor has advanced training in medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors help and support people as they navigate and seek information about inherited conditions that could potentially affect them or their families. Genetic counselors often meet with patients and their families before and after genetic testing. Genetic counselors work in different areas of health care (for example, prenatal, cancer, pediatrics and more) and are important members of many health care teams.

To best support patients and their families and provide accurate information about genetic risks, a genetic counselor will often ask questions about personal medical history and family health history.

A genetic counselor may discuss:

  • Your chance of inheriting certain genes or conditions based on your personal medical history, family health history or both
  • Your chance of passing on a genetic condition to your children
  • How a certain genetic condition could impact your health or the health of family members
  • Options for genetic testing, if available
  • The benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing for you, your family members or future children
  • Ways to talk about and share information about a genetic condition with family members

Medical geneticist

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.

Genetic testing

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.

Summary provided

A report about your clinical genomics 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.

Oct. 12, 2021