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Prenatal Genetic Counseling

Genetic tests performed during pregnancy can show your chances of having a child with a disease or some other problem carried in your genes. All women are offered the following diagnostic tests during pregnancy, but whether you choose to have the test done is a personal choice. To schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor, ask your doctor or nurse midwife for a referral to Genetic Counseling. 

  • Amniocentesis: Baby chromosomes can be studied in samples of amniotic fluid. When needed, this is done between 15 and 18 weeks. You will have complete genetic counseling before amniocentesis. Not all pregnant women need this test.
  • Cell-free Fetal DNA Screening: This test is used to assess your developing baby’s risk of having a chromosome disorder. A sample of the mother’s blood is taken any time after 10 weeks.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling: This test is also used to study baby chromosomes before birth. Tiny amounts of placenta are removed between weeks 9 and 13. If you need this test, you will be referred to the nearest university genetic testing center.
  • Cystic Fibrosis Testing: You can choose to be tested to see if your baby has an increased chance of having cystic fibrosis (CF).
  • First Trimester Screening: This screening tells you what your risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13 using a finger poke and an ultrasound measurement along with your age (or age of egg donor in case of egg donation). The blood test needs to be done between 9 weeks gestation and 13 weeks and 6 days gestation. The ultrasound is a measurement of an area on the back of the baby's neck. It is done between 11 weeks gestation and 13 weeks and 6 days gestation.
  • Expanded Carrier Screening: This test determines whether the mother or father is a carrier of any recessive genes. Recessive means that two copies of the gene must be present (one inherited from the mother and one from the father) in order to pass the trait or disorder onto your child. It is offered anytime a couple expresses interest.
  • Maternal Serum Screening: Sometime during your fourth month, you can choose to have Maternal Serum Screening performed. This blood test can tell you if there is an increased chance your baby may have Down syndrome or spina bifida. This test is an option.
  • Ultrasound: Using ultrasound to make an image of the baby, placenta and uterus has become widespread. At Gundersen, we perform this service in Obstetrics. You find out test results right away. By looking at the ultrasound image, the doctor can tell the sex and position of the baby and placenta.

Struggling to get pregnant?

If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant and experience infertility, Gundersen also provides genetic counseling options to analyze your family history and determine personalized treatment options.

Services include:

  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: Testing cells from embryos of couples who have a specific genetic condition they do not want to pass on to their children.
  • Preimplantation genetic screening: For couples who need testing for genetic conditions involving whole chromosomes or large areas of a chromosome. This is appropriate for couples with multiple miscarriages.

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Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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