Genetic counselling – Prospective and Retrospective

Structure of a gene

Genetic counselling is the utilisation of knowledge of genetics to predict the probability of genetic disorders. It is of 2 types:

  • Prospective genetic counselling
    • In this the genetic disorder has not yet expressed itself
    • It is done is heterozygotic individuals to assess the probability of having a child with genetic disorders
    • If a person is identified as heterozygotic for a genetic condition, he/she should be advised against marrying another heterozygotic individual as there is increased risk of the trait expressing itself in the phenotype
  • Retrospective genetic counselling
    • In this, the disease has already occurred in the family
    • This is more commonly done compared to prospective genetic counselling
    • This is because, people usually come for genetic counselling only after having a child with congenital anomalies / mental retardation / inborn errors of metabolism
    • The interventions as a part of retrospective genetic counselling are:
      • Contraception
      • Sterilization
      • Termination of pregnancy

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