What to Expect

Our team works together to first understand your concerns. We then evaluate your medical and family history, review what medical workup has already been done and then typically perform a physical exam. Our team will explain genetics concepts to you and then review genetic testing if it may be necessary. We strive to educate our patients and help them be informed about any decisions they may make. We help with the complexities surrounding genetic testing, insurance authorization and any worries or concerns you may have about the process. Our team will walk alongside you during your journey to help provide explanation, reassurance and guidance whenever it may be needed. There is no one genetic test that is perfect for every person, so our discussions are very individualized. Decisions about whether to undergo genetic testing do not have to be made on the day of the appointment.   

Preparing For Your Visit

Talk with family members to find out if anyone has similar findings, had learning difficulties, birth defects, multiple pregnancy losses or other health concerns. If a family member has a genetic diagnosis or has had genetic testing, try to obtain a copy of their results or documentation of their diagnosis. Plan to bring the following items to your appointment:

  • All insurance cards, including Medicaid
  • A list of all medications taken by the patient
  • Names of all physicians and health care providers currently treating the patient
  • Family photos--these can help the geneticist look for family traits that may help in diagnosis

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Plan for initial visits to take about an hour and a half, you may meet with a medical geneticist, genetic counselor or both. In most cases a physical exam will be performed. Any important findings will be discussed and if needed, options for genetic testing will be explained. Genetic testing is always optional.

Genetic testing is not always pursued the day of the initial office visit. We will attempt to obtain insurance authorization or determine coverage before any testing is undertaken. Please be aware this may take some time, sometimes it may take a few weeks, other times a couple of months. Genetic testing is typically performed on a blood sample. Fasting is not required prior to the blood draw. Sometimes we perform a series of tests, which may be done in sequence over time.

Our genetic counselors are health care professionals who specialize in educating patients about genetic testing, the causes of genetic conditions and how those conditions may impact an individual and their family members. They also provide support and resources to help patients and families make informed choices and adapt to their genetic diagnoses.

Results will be shred when they return. Often times results are available in about a month, but sometimes it may take multiple months. Changes to medical management, family planning and any other questions will be discussed when we discuss your results. We will help you understand the results, their implications and what next steps need to be taken based on what was found. We may discuss additional genetic testing if that is available.

Meet The Team

Our medical genetics team features a variety of members, including medical geneticists, genetic counselors and assistants, and medical assistants. We work closely with colleagues from many specialties across Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and Spectrum Health.

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