The Utility of Genetic Counseling Prior to Offering First Trimester Screening Options
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In order to evaluate the utility of genetic counseling at the time of first trimester screening in patients with no previously identified genetic concerns, we reviewed family history data for 700 women seen for genetic counseling in Utah during 2005-2006. The mean maternal age was 35 years (Range: 16–47 years). The majority of patients seen were non-Jewish Caucasians (90.8%, 634/700). A three-generation pedigree was obtained from each woman by one of two certified genetic counselors and subsequently classified as “negative” (no birth defects/genetic disorders); “positive” (birth defect or genetic condition with a minimal/low risk of recurrence; additional evaluation/genetic testing during pregnancy not indicated); or “significant” (birth defect or genetic condition with an increased risk of recurrence; additional evaluation/genetic testing during the pregnancy indicated). About 72% (501/700) of the histories were negative, 19% (134/700) were positive, and about 9% (65/700) were significant. Among patients with significant family histories, 66% (n = 43) were women less than 35 years of age. We conclude that assessing a patient’s family history at the time of first trimester serum screening is a valuable resource for pregnancy management.