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Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling gives you information about health concerns that run in your family. It includes a review of family history, health history, and/or pregnancy history.

The goal of genetic counseling is to:

  • Check your risk for having a baby with possible health problems
  • Explain the cause of a health problem and how it is passed on
  • Discuss your personalized pregnancy care plan and what tests are available
  • Figure out the outlook of a health problem
  • Counseling and support
  • Manage your health needs
  • Treat a health problem
  • Referral to other professionals if necessary

What is a genetic counselor?

Our genetic counselors, Peggy Kerper, MS, CGC, and Tracy Dawson, MS, CGC, have master’s degrees in genetic counseling, are licensed by the State of Tennessee Division of Health Related Boards, and are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. They have extensive knowledge in human genetics, genetic disease, patterns of inheritance and birth defects. They also are trained in counseling skills to help you deal with critical decision-making and the emotional effects of a genetic disease.

Who needs genetic counseling?

Some common examples of individuals who seek genetic counseling are:

  • Women older than 35 who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Couples with increased risk for birth defects, chromosomal problems or genetic conditions
  • Certain ethnicities with increased risk for recessive genetic diseases
  • Detection of birth defect (such as cleft lip, club feet, heart defect, or spina bifida), chromosomal or genetic conditions in an unborn baby 
  • Couples who have a child with a birth defect
  • Couples with recurrent miscarriages

Make An Appointment

If you are interested in speaking with one of our genetic counselors, please call (865) 331-2020 for an appointment.

Depending on your insurance, you may need a referral from your primary care physician for genetic counseling to be a covered benefit.

Before you schedule an appointment, it would be helpful to gather as much information as possible about the issues that are concerning you. We suggest you talk with family members and request medical records.