The role of a genetic counselor is an extremely important one. One can even say that a genetic counselor can be like an agent of God, helping shape an extremely important decision. Moreover, genetic counselors work with “families to help them understand genetic testing, guide them through the process and help them make informed choices based on their genetic testing results” (Larson, 2014). With new technology, genetic counseling has actually evolved from giving reproductive recommendations to a wide-range of recommendations including hereditary diseases (Choi & Kim, 2014).
Genetic counselors need to help patients with making important decisions. For example, if a husband and wife are both carriers for Huntington’s disease – a disease breaking down nerve cells in the brain – and are considering having a baby, they would most likely confide in a genetic counselor. If I were a genetic counselor put into this situation, I would most likely share with them personal stories to help make their decision. This would not only give them advice but also not determine their own decision for them. The patients should be the one making the decision and the counselor should be offering non-swaying advice in the heat of the moment (Larson, 2014). I personally would tell them that adopting is an option, but if you really want to have a child then you need to be prepared to answer the tough questions. Tough questions would include things like the ability to recognize that your child is sick, or whether they would consider having an abortion if things went wrong. Once again, the counselor should bring up the circumstance, not answer it for the patient.
A genetic counselor is someone who should be giving important advice to patients but now deciding the patients’ decision(s) for them. It’s important to keep an open mind when counseling and to never let personal biases get in the way of offering up good advice. Thus, genetic counselors need to provide valuable information to patients to help them decide, and bring up the tough questions so they won’t need to be answered when it is too late.