We are now living in the 'genomic age' of medicine, in which we have unprecedented access to genetic information about our health and that of our offspring. Accurate information and genetic counselling can assist couples with an increased chance of a baby with genetic condition.
Monday - Friday8.30- 4.30pm
In this ‘genomic era’ of medicine, we have never been at greater risk of losing knowledge in the sea of information. We now have access to unprecedented amounts of information regarding our genetic make up and that of our offspring. While this technology is exciting and can assist families in informed decision making, it can also create uncertainty and dilemmas. The Mercy Perinatal Genetics team comprise a highly skilled team of Medical Geneticists and Genetic Counsellors, known as Genetics of the NorthEast Prenatal (GeNE Prenatal). Their role is to help families through the minefield of genetic screening and diagnostic testing, and to be the first ‘port of call’ when families are confronted with a diagnosis of structural or genetic abnormality in their unborn baby. GeNE Prenatal look after families throughout the northeast corridor of Melbourne, including patients at Northern Health, and from regional Victoria.
“For families known to be at increased risk of a genetic condition, we are always hoping to see them prior to a planned pregnancy, or early in pregnancy to ensure they have sufficient time to understand their testing options,” says Melissa Graetz, Genetics Unit Manager. “For families who have just been given a serious diagnosis in their unborn baby, we are here to provide counselling, support and advice as part of the fetal medicine team.
The genetic counselling team are available every weekday for consultations. Urgent referrals following the diagnosis of a serious fetal abnormality are seen the same day to ensure immediate support for families and to co-ordinate their ongoing care. Medical Geneticists are available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and by appointment on other days if needed.
Our subspecialists in maternal fetal medicine and obstetrical and gynaecological ultrasound are available to perform prenatal diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling every weekday. Our genetic counsellors perform the pretest counselling and consent for diagnostic procedures and provide ongoing post-test counselling and support.
We welcome referrals for any woman or couple at increased risk of having a child with a genetic condition on the basis of family history or previously affected pregnancy. At the Mercy Hospital for Women, the Genetic Counselling team also take the role of ‘Fetal Intake Worker’ and co-ordinates the new referrals of women who have a diagnosis of a serious abnormality in their baby, regardless of whether there is a specific genetic diagnosis. Whether the referral is from within or outside Mercy, the genetics team will facilitate an urgent maternal fetal medicine consultation and organise diagnostic procedures where indicated.