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Genetic Counseling

Information Sheet for Potential Donors and Recipients

Fertility Resources of Houston, L.L.C. provides egg donor patients and recipients with benefits not available at most other donor egg agencies. Every donor is screened by a board certified genetic counselor. Additionally, the counselor can provide a thorough review of the biological mother and father’s family history as well as answer any questions the recipient has concerning hereditary risk factors.

What Is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is a discussion with a specially trained health care provider, a genetic counselor, about the risk of a genetic disorder or birth defect in a family or the occurrence of a genetic disorder in a person or family.

What is a Genetic Counselor?

Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Certification in genetic counseling is available by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Genetic counselors provide information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to persons and families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family.

What is the Purpose of the Genetic Consultation?

The purpose of the genetic consultation appointment is to learn about your genetic make-up in order to minimize the chance that a baby will have a birth defect or serious inherited disease. Certain genetic tests may be appropriate for you given your family history, personal health history, or ethnic background.

What Happens During a Genetic Consultation?

You will be asked to provide your complete medical history. You will be asked medical questions about your biological parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and first cousins. Specifically, you will be asked about:

  • Any birth defects that required surgery or resulted in medical problems (such as cleft lip, spina bifida or a heart defect).
  • Certain genetic disorders (such as Huntington’s disease, hemophilia, Tay-Sachs disease or sickle cell anemia).
  • Inherited diseases that are of special interest to a recipient because of her own family history.
  • Any major medical problems, surgeries, mental retardation, or psychiatric problems.

For any close blood relative who has died, you will need to know how old they were and the cause of death. Some common diseases (such as cancer or heart disease) that strike when people are middle-aged or younger are influenced, at least in part, by genetics. Additional information may be requested when there is a positive family history that may indicate an increased genetic risk and/or a need to clarify or verify information. Useful information can include medical records, including test results, specific diagnoses and photographs.

From the information you provide, the counselor will construct a three-generation pedigree to evaluate your family history for genetic risks. A pedigree is a family tree drawn with standard genetic symbols that helps to identify patterns of inheritance, distinguish genetic from other risk factors, calculate risks and decide what types of tests, if any, are appropriate.

Cystic fibrosis screening is routinely recommended for donors based on the current American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Medical Genetics guidelines. In addition, testing for other genetic diseases may be recommended if the donor or biological father falls into a specific ethnic group that puts them at increased risk to be a carrier of the disease, including sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies, Tay-Sachs disease, Canavan disease and/or familial dysautonomia. Testing may also be requested to address a genetic concern in the family of the recipient, or to answer questions raised by the donor or biological father’s family history.

Genetic tests are usually performed on a blood sample or cheek cell specimen. Prior to testing, the counselor will discuss any concerns or questions. For example, what happens if the test reveals a genetic risk? Or, who has access to my genetic test results?

How is the Genetic Consultation Appointment Made?

For donors, the genetic counselor will contact you upon successful completion of general medical and infectious disease screening to schedule a convenient time for the appointment. The genetic consultation for donors occurs by telephone. For recipients with genetic questions or family history concerns, a genetic consultation can be arranged by first contacting Wendy Froman, R.N.. Recipient questions may be addressed by e-mail or telephone, depending on their complexity.

About Our Genetic Counselor

We are privileged to be affiliated with Cara L. Snyder, Certified Genetic Counselor (American Board of Genetic Counseling). Cara has nearly 20 years of clinical and research expertise providing genetic counseling for a variety of indications. Cara pursued her undergraduate education at the University of Missouri, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Psychology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and the University of California at Berkeley in 1999. Cara became a diplomat of the American Board of Genetic Counseling in 2002 and has been an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors since 1997.

CLS Genetic Consulting

Cara L. Snyder, M.S., CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor
e-mail: cara@carasnyder.com
Phone: (720) 232-0811

Contact Us

Contact Fertility Resources of Houston

Why Choose Us?

What Makes Us Different

  • Each Participant Is Thoroughly Screened
  • No Consultation Fees
  • ASRM Recommended
  • Discreet & Highly Professional
  • Ensures Satisfaction
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