Pregnant after 35
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Genetic Counseling

Because of my "advanced maternal age" (just turned 37), our OB strongly suggests genetic counseling. He says it is essential because of my age. We have agreed to an appointment for a consultation, but are somewhat hesitant about the complete process.

Our inclination is not to have much testing done. In our minds, we are going to have whatever baby we end up with. While we would - of course - hope that our child is born in good health, if we found out that the child would have some challenges, it would not change anything for us. So, what would the pros of testing be?

One of my close friends chose genetic counseling with her first child but not her second and said that, were she to do it again, she wouldn't have gone for the counseling with either.

I guess what I am asking is ... What do you all think? What are the pros and cons of genetic counseling?

thanks!

peace,
katharine

Book-Kitten blog

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Re: Genetic Counseling

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    I'm wondering this same thing.  I have an appointment with a geneticist set for next week and am curious as to what they have to say.  Would love to hear some thoughts of those further along. 

    I guess I'm hoping that the tests could offer some reassurance, if they come back with normal results, or would help us prepare, if they didn't.  But it's a balance between the need to know and the risks involved.  Hopefully we'll get some guidance on the best path from the consult.  I'm pretty sure we'll do the NT Scan since it's non-invasive, and probably go from there.


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    We already know we're in a high-risk group above and beyond my age (39).

    One pro we see to genetic counseling is that right now only I have health insurance. If it turns out we're going to be facing unusual medical expenses, DH will need to look for a different job and the sooner we know that the better.

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    We spoke with a GC immediately following the NT Scan. It was just part of that practice procedures. She looked over our family histories and went over the odds with us.
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    I think it all depends on you and what will make you feel comfortable.  I am a fan of knowing - whether the news is good or bad - as it will give me a chance to prepare and educate myself.  Also, not to be negative, but some really rare genetic diseases will result in a baby not making it to birth - or only living a few days/weeks.

     As for me, we had genetic counseling after a really horrible NT scan.  After the counseling, we opted for a CVS and learned that everything was 100% normal (chromosomally).  So it allowed me to feel much more relaxed with the rest of the pregnancy. 

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    Speaking of "Advanced Maternal Age" I'm 42 and pregnant with my third child.  My other children are 23 and 16 yr's old.  I declined having all of the tests done, etc..I told my Dr. that I was going to keep my baby regardless of the results so why go through it...I'm almost 30 weeks and everything is going great.  No red flags on ultrasounds.  I've noticed that when people have the testing done they start stressing over the results, etc...I've been calm and stressfree my whole pregnancy. Do whatever you think is right for you.
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    I have Kaiser and they make you see the GC (won't accept your appointment without talking to one, which is fine). The GC I saw was awesome to say the least. I will be 37 and the odds for having a child with a birth defect is 1 in 122. I want to know if my child is healthy and what I have or would do to prepare myself for my child or make an decision. 

    The GC asked family history (my immediate family and DHs) and explained the odds of what a child could end up with. My DH has a rare kidney disease and we worry about a child getting it. Thankfully the GC explained the odds with that and its highly unlikely our children would get it.  I know you can test your spouse to see if they carry a certain gene. We did not do any gene testing because that can take a long time. We opted against it when we TTC our DD.

    As for testing we are starting out with the 12 week blood test and again at 18 weeks with an ultrasound, then we will see what is the next step if anything is questioned. I was told Amnio is the best way to go. Time will tell. 


    Hope this helps and Good luck! 

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    I'm 36 and my husband is 47. We met with a genetic counselor because we decided to have an amnio and no other testing. Our baby was a surprise so I hadn't done any research about 'risks' of being an older mom. The information she gave us, coupled with the research I did on my own really put my mind at ease. Talking to the GC actually helped me feel more confident about having a healthy baby. 
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    I just posted a question today on the May 2011 Mom's board about Genetic Testing because I went to my first appt. yesterday and I was a little bummed out having to discuss the genetic testing.  Though I'm frighten by the odds (I am 37 and will be 38 before I deliver) my dh and I decided to do 1 of the testings (CF) yesterday.  Now I'm waiting for the results which could take till my next appt in 4 weeks, of course I'm worried.  Unfortunately, we weren't really prepared for the genetic testing question at our first appt. and counseling was never brought up... 
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    I will be 37 when my son comes (If I dont go early). We opted for genetic testing. I have certain genetic conditions in my side of family that I did not want to be surprised about. Extra fingers and toes is the most prominent thing I wanted to check for. Plus I got another ultrasound, that was more detailed and a video from the experience. I would definitley do it again. I think It is personal choice. I wouldnt have aborted the baby, if he had something wrong with him. I like to plan if the baby had problems.

     

    Good luck

    Sunny

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    I'm also 37.  We didn't meet with a genetic counselor (I'm sure my midwife would have set it up if we'd wanted to).  We opted to do the NT scan and the results were great, so we didn't feel the amnio was necessary.  Our 20 week ultrasound was also great.

    I guess the pro of talking to someone would be that you'd have a better understanding of what problems could come up.  The con would be the potentially unnecessary worry.  You don't have to agree to any testing that you're not comfortable with.  Good luck with your decision!

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    If you wouldn't terminate I really don't see the point of genetic counseling. Have you had the NT scan yet or the 20 week u/s? If everything looks good then why bother with all of the what ifs?? For me it would just stress me out more. If something did show up on one of the scans then it might be helpful to know more about what you are dealing with - the different levels of severity, treatments, if any, etc. 

    I would go with your gut. If you don't want to do the testing, then don't. The Dr. is just doing some CYA. 37 is not that old at all.  

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    We went for genetic counseling, but we had decided to go straight for the CVS and forgo the NT scan.  I think the counseling is standard when you opt for diagnostic testing.   We went over family history and discussed the various risks due to my age.   DH and I also agreed to participate in a study that provided additional genetic testing beyond the CVS (nothing additional was required for this testing, just signing a lot of papers).  
     
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    Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I'm only just over 6 weeks along, so we haven't had an u/s yet. In fact, our dr doesn't schedule the first u/s until around 20 weeks. We will meet with the counselor for a consultation, but I think we'll very likely opt for the least amount of testing unless they can give us an extremely compelling reason why we, specifically, need to proceed.

     

    Thasnks again! You ladies rock!

    peace,
    katharine

    Book-Kitten blog

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    I had my first peri appt today and we met with the genetic counselor.  Since we used donor eggs it was more about the donor's history and my DH's and since the donor was 21 we really have no reason to think anything would be worng. 

    We were already prepared for this and had decided that the only reason that we would go forward with an amino or CVS is if the 1st tri screening came back with any concerns.  The couselor did not pressure us in any way and just wanted to make sure we understand our options.

    A NT scan has to be done between 10w and 13w6d so if you decide you want one you should talk to your doctor. 

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    I am 35 and refused all testing.  My doctor was in support of this. 
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    It is definitely a personal decision. I am 35 pregnant for the first time, my DH has 2 other children from a previous marriage - both happy and healthy.  However i am the type of person that "needs to know" everythign is OK healthwise. I don't want to know the gender, but health i want to know.  Even if you know you would not terminate, you might want to think about mentally preparing yourself for a child w/ special needs, rather than find out on the day the baby comes.  I am getting all the testing that i can, i went for genetic counseling, first blood screen and NT scan, next friday i go for my amnio - which i am scared of! but i just need to do it. 
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