SMA Australia


Phone: (03) 9796 5744

What is genetic counselling?

Genetic counselling is a process that helps people to understand what it means for them to have a genetic condition in their family. It usually involves a combination of providing information and support to a person, couple or family. Some people want emotional support or guidance with decision-making, while other people may just want information explained to them. Genetic counselling is guided by the person and their individual needs.

What is a genetic counsellor?

A genetic counsellor is a healthcare professional who is specially trained in genetic counselling. Genetic counsellors in Australia have to complete a Masters level degree to be able to practice, which includes specific training in understanding genetic conditions, communicating and counselling. Some genetic counsellors specialise in certain areas, such as prenatal genetics, cancer or neuromuscular conditions, like SMA.

Sometimes other health professionals, like clinical geneticists, may be involved in genetic counselling.

Why would I see a genetic counsellor?

People will often first see a genetic counsellor after receiving a diagnosis of a genetic condition in themselves, their child or a family member. Some people might also see a genetic counsellor if they think there could be a genetic condition in their family, or are planning to get pregnant and want to learn if they are a carrier for any genetic conditions.

Accessing genetic counselling:

It is possible to access genetic counselling through a referral from your specialist or GP. Genetic counsellors are mostly located within hospitals or prenatal clinics.

Find your closest genetic counselling service here: https://www.hgsa.org.au/asgc/find-a-genetic-counsellor