Genetic Counseling

After making the important decision to have a baby, you will want to take all of the necessary precautions to be sure your baby will be happy and healthy. We offer a wide range of genetic tests and procedures to assess the health of your newborn. These tests are performed when your baby may be at increased risk for birth defects or genetic conditions.

Certified Counselors

Our genetic counselors have advanced degrees and are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counselors. They work closely with physicians to provide the most comprehensive genetic services and will assist you in making the most informed decisions about your pregnancy based on your personal circumstances. They provide information on your risk for genetic disorders, explain the appropriate genetic tests and make the needed arrangements for testing.

The University of Maryland Advantage

At the University of Maryland, you have the advantage of immediate access to the most cutting-edge technology and the widest range of resources. The study of genetics is constantly changing and University of Maryland can connect you to physicians conducting the very latest research, participating in weekly clinical conferences and consulting frequently with physicians from other specialty areas. As the number of potential screening tests increases, we will immediately make those tests available. In addition, depending on your diagnoses, we encourage you to keep all of your options open.

Who Needs Genetic Counseling?

  • Pregnant women who will be 35 years old or older at delivery time.

  • Individuals who are known to be at risk for carrying genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, sickle cell disease or thalassemia.

  • Parents of a child with a genetic disorder, birth defect or mental retardation.

  • Individuals who have had a laboratory test such as a maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening test indicating an increased risk for a genetic disorder.

  • Individuals diagnosed with a birth defect or mental retardation, or who have a family history of a genetic disorder.

  • Individuals of ethnic groups in which particular inherited diseases are more common, including African-American, French-Canadian, Jewish, Mediterranean or Asian backgrounds.

  • Individuals or couples who have had multiple miscarriages or pregnancy losses.

  • Women exposed to certain medications or drugs, significant radiation, and/or particular infections during pregnancy.

Tests and Procedures

Genetic tests or procedures include:

  • Ultrasound -- A non-invasive test that produces an image of the fetus using sound waves.

  • Amniocentesis -- The insertion of a thin needle through the abdomen and into the fluid that surrounds the fetus to remove and test the fluid for chromosome abnormalities and other genetic disorders.

  • Chorionic villus sampling -- A procedure performed between 10 and 12 weeks to extract cells from the placenta from the beginning of the last menstrual period to detect chromosome abnormalities and certain other genetic disorders.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 410-328-3865.

This page was last updated: July 29, 2014

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