Reproductive (Prenatal) Genetics

Reproductive (Prenatal) Genetics

Reproductive genetic counselors (also known as prenatal genetic counselors) specialize in genetic conditions or birth differences that can be passed from parent to child or occur brand new during a pregnancy. We work with OB/GYNs, Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists, and other healthcare providers to help families understand how genetics can affect their current or future pregnancies.

Although most babies are born healthy, there is a chance for any child to be born with a genetic condition and/or birth difference. Reproductive genetic counselors provide expert, individualized risk estimates to families who may have an increased chance to have a child born with a genetic condition and/or birth difference.

Common reasons that may increase the chance for a family to have a child with a genetic condition and/or birth difference include:

  • Being 35 years or older at the time of delivery
  • Having had a genetic test that has shown an increased risk for a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome, in your current pregnancy or future pregnancy
  • Having ultrasound findings concerning for a birth difference or genetic condition in your pregnancy
  • Having a personal or family history of birth difference or genetic conditions
  • Having a history of infertility or multiple miscarriages

For families with any of the above history, your OB/GYN or primary care physician can refer you to meet with a Mount Carmel reproductive genetic counselor to review more details about you and your partner’s pregnancy and family histories. 

Reproductive genetic counseling is available through the Maternal Fetal Medicine department either via telehealth or in-person at the following three Mount Carmel locations:

Mount Carmel St. Ann's 
500 South Cleveland Avenue 
Westerville, OH 43081 
Phone Number: 380-898-4591

Mount Carmel East 
6001 East Broad Street 
Columbus, OH 43213 
Phone Number: 614-234-9364 

Mount Carmel Grove City 
5300 North Meadows Drive 
Grove City, Ohio 43123 
Phone Number: 614-663-2700

Please contact the Mount Carmel Maternal Fetal Medicine department location of your choice with any additional questions. A referral from your doctor is necessary to be scheduled. 
For providers: Referrals can be placed directly via EPIC (Ambulatory Referral to Genetics; Maternal Fetal Medicine: choose intended site MCGC, MCSA, or MCCE)

View our Reproductive (Prenatal) Genetics PDF


How do I prepare for my appointment?

The most helpful thing you can do is collect information about you and your partner’s personal and family medical histories. Information you should collect includes whether there is any family history of birth defects, genetic conditions, intellectual disabilities, recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, or stillbirth. If you or anyone in your family has already had genetic testing performed, obtaining copies of the genetic testing reports will be very informative for you and your genetic counselor.

What happens at a genetic counseling appointment?

You’ll meet with one of our genetic counselors to discuss:

  • You and your partner’s pregnancy and family history.
  • The chance for your pregnancy or future pregnancy to have a genetic condition and/or birth difference.
  • Review genetic testing options that are available to help you learn more information about the health of your pregnancy or future pregnancy. Any genetic testing offered to you is completely optional, and the genetic counselor can help you decide if testing is the best decision for you and your family based on your personal values and beliefs.

What is prenatal genetic testing?

There are two main kinds of testing:

  • Prenatal screening tests can provide more information about the chance of certain birth defects or genetic conditions by using a maternal blood sample and/or ultrasound. These screening tests do not involve any risk to the pregnancy. Screening tests cannot give a definite "yes or no" answer about whether your pregnancy has birth defects and/or genetic conditions. More tests would be needed to confirm an abnormal result.
  • Prenatal diagnostic tests are procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and/or amniocentesis that can give you a definite "yes or no" answer about whether your pregnancy has certain chromosome disorders or genetic conditions. These tests have an associated risk for miscarriage or pregnancy complications which would be explored in detail during a consultation. Diagnostic testing options do not specifically evaluate risk for birth defects.

Should I consider genetic testing?

All genetic testing is optional. A genetic counselor or clinical geneticist can talk to you about your testing options to allow you to make the best decision for you and your family. You have the final decision about whether you want to have any genetic testing performed before or during your pregnancy.

Will my insurance cover genetic testing?

Although many insurance providers cover genetic testing if it is medically indicated, certain genetic testing may not be covered by your insurance plan. Contact your insurance company for detailed coverage information.