Our genetic counselors will work closely with you to collect information about your personal, pregnancy, and family history. Genetic counseling allows us to better understand your unique situation so a personalized pregnancy care plan can be tailored to meet your needs. Our genetic counselors will inform and educate you about your risk factors and will explain options available to you, while supporting and facilitating any decision you make.
During a genetic counseling session, the following may occur:
- Discussion about personal and family medical history
- Education about a genetic condition and its inheritance
- Discussion of your personalized pregnancy care plan
- Genetic testing options
- Counseling and support
- Discussion of fetal abnormalities detected on ultrasound
- Referral to other professionals if necessary
What is a genetic counselor?
Our genetic counselors, Peggy Kerper
, MS, CGC, and Teresa Blake
, MS, CG, have master’s degrees in genetic counseling, licensed by the State of Tennessee Division of Health Related Boards, and are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. They have extensive knowledge in human genetics, genetic disease, patterns of inheritance and birth defects
. They also are trained in counseling skills to help you deal with critical decision-making and the emotional effects of genetic disease.
Who needs genetic counseling?
Some common examples of individuals who seek genetic counseling are:
- Women over 35 who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- Couples who have been told their unborn baby has a birth defect, chromosome condition or genetic condition
- Couples who are at increased risk to have a child with a birth defect, chromosome condition or genetic condition
- Individuals of certain ethnic backgrounds who are concerned about recessive genetic diseases they may carry
- Individuals who have family history of a known genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or hemophilia)
- Individuals who have noted certain problems “run in the family”
- Couples who have had a child with a birth defect (such as cleft lip, club feet, heart defect or spina bifida)
- Individuals with a family history of a chromosome condition, birth defect or mental retardation
- Couples with recurrent miscarriages
If you are interested in speaking with one of our genetic counselors, please call (865) 541-2020
for an appointment. Depending on your insurance, you may need a referral from your primary care physician for genetic counseling to be a covered benefit.
Before you schedule an appointment, it would be helpful to gather as much information as possible about the issues that are concerning you. We suggest you talk with family members and request medical records.