Getting the most out of your genetic counselling appointment

So you’re about to have a call with a Eugene genetic counsellor before having a carrier test, and are wondering what to expect?

Well, that’s a totally normal question so here’s everything you need to know!

1.Who should join the call?

First, we can’t wait to meet you! If you are planning on having genetic carrier screening with a partner it would be better if you are both on the call. We generally do video calls, and everyone can also dial in separately — just in case you and your partner are not together at the time of the call.

2. What are we going to talk about?

It’s important for us to explore what makes you, you. Part of this includes asking questions about you and your family’s medical and genetic history and ethnic background. We’ll work together to build a family tree, which is a visual representation of:

  • 4 generations of your family (that’s you, your parents’ generation, your grandparents, and also if you have kids, nieces or nephews).
  • You and your partner’s families’ health history — that includes any major health problems and family members that passed away because of health issues.
  • Your reproductive and pregnancy history — including any pregnancy or fertility problems that you’re aware of in yourselves, siblings or parents.

Your family tree will look a little something like this:

3. Why is this call even necessary?

We pair every member with a genetic counsellor for mindful support and guidance every step of the way. It’s only when we can start to understand your motivations, expectations and concerns can we tailor your experience with us to what’s relevant for you.

We’d love to get to know your preferences, experiences and what’s important to you. This way, we know how you like to receive info, deal with uncertainties and how to support you in making decisions that feel right for you.

We also know that having a genetic test can often be different to other health checks. So, in our session we’ll also cover:

  • How carrier screening works
  • What it can and cannot do
  • What to expect on your journey with Eugene

We also encourage you to ask us ‘Why’!

Pro tip: If you do have questions already, write them all down so you don’t forget at the time.. 🙂

4. How does it all work?

We work hard to make it really easy for you. Everything is at home, you can never leave your couch!

We video calls for appointments and we’ll ship you your kits for free (coz we’re nice like that). We also include a free session with your genetic counsellor before we send you the kit. After your call, if you feel like the test is not right for you, we’ll refund you every dollar.

Health appointments in PJs?? I think I’m going to like 2019.

Everyone.

So here’s how it all works:

  1. Buy the test – It’s $479 for an individual and $679 for a couple. This includes the test, counselling, shipping, handling and everything else.
  2. Book in for your pre-test appointment
  3. After your call you’ll need to give us your consent for the test. Just click here to do that.
  4. We’ll then ship you your test kits right to your home so get ready to spit!
  5. You’re already pregnant? We usually ship the saliva test kits to your home within 24 hours of your counselling call. If you’re pregnant, we’d love to get things moving ASAP, because it can take up to 4 weeks to get your results. So if you can’t find a convenient time for your appointment, just send us an email or give us a call at (03) 9015 4363 so we can try and squeeze you in.
  6. Once you’ve gotten your test kits, register your kit and provide your saliva sample (here’s how) and carefully label your tube.
  7. Drop the pre-paid return box in the mail to ship your kits back to us.
  8. When you’re results are in, we’ll send you an email to book in for a call with your genetic counsellor to discuss your results.

Some things that are good to know

Most of the time, it takes two to tango, so we usually recommend having genetic carrier screening with your partner (if you have one). Here are a few reasons why:

  1. 70% of people who do the test find out that they are a healthy a healthy carrier of at least one of the diseases we screen for. And this is not dependent on who they are, where they are from, or their personal health history. As humans, we all carry these recessive traits so this is totally normal!
  2. For most conditions, both partners must carry the same disease for there to be a risk of having a child born with that condition. That’s why it’s more useful to do the test as a couple.
  3. 2.5% of couples who have genetic carrier screening with Eugene are identified as being at risk of having a child born with one of the inherited genetic conditions found on the panel. Knowing this risk in advance can open up reproductive options and help you make empowered choices, or even avoid passing on the disease.
  4. Obviously, we’re here to help you throughout the process with with counselling before and after the test so you can feel informed, prepared and empowered to make choices that feel right for you.
  5. Because you inherit your DNA from your parents and pass it on to your children, your results could have implications for all your blood relatives. We recommend that in time you should tell these important people about this – so that they too can make informed decisions about their pregnancy plans.

If you have any questions for us, just send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at (03) 9015 4363. Either way, you’ll get a trained genetic counsellor to help answer any of your questions!

Written by
Zoe

Zoë is a co-founder at Eugene and has been counselling couples in reproductive genetics for over 10 years. She is passionate about improving access to ethical genetic testing in a emotionally supportive and culturally sensitive environment. Zoe wants to empower people with knowledge of the genetic identity rather than fear it.

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Starting a family?

Eugene's pre-pregnancy carrier test is like a checkup to see if you or your partner are carrying any genetic disease that could be passed on to your children.

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