Valley’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program offers diagnostic genetic evaluation and genetic counseling for pregnant women and those who wish to become pregnant. The counseling is intended to help patients understand genetic disorders and potential genetic disorders that might affect their family.
Prenatal Genetics Services
Valley’s genetic counselors can provide information and educate patients on:
- Nuchal translucency, a first-trimester prenatal screening test for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome
- Prenatal tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
- Abnormal maternal serum screen
- Concerns about possible occurrence/recurrence of diseases that run in families, such as cystic fibrosis or hearing loss
- Family history of mental retardation, such as fragile X syndrome; birth defects, such as cleft lip or congenital heart disease; or chromosomal abnormalities
- Maternal medical diseases such as seizure disorders or insulin-dependent diabetes
- Maternal exposure to radiation, infections, medications, drugs or alcohol
- Recurring miscarriages
Your genetic counselor can also advise you on whether you are genetically prone to birth defects based on your ethnicity. Some ethnic groups are more likely to develop certain diseases or carry genetic abnormalities than other members of the general population. Special tests to determine this likelihood are available. Examples include:
- People of Eastern European Jewish descent may carry several non-working genes that could lead to diseases such as Tay-Sachs, an inherited fatal disorder that affects the function of the brain and the central nervous system.
- African-Americans are prone to carrying the non-working gene for sickle cell anemia, an inherited disorder of the red blood cells.
- People of Italian-Mediterranean descent can carry the non-working gene for thalassemia, an inherited abnormality of hemoglobin that results in severe anemia.
- People of Caucasian ancestry may carry the non-working gene for cystic fibrosis, a disorder of the exocrine glands.