JOURNAL OF GENETIC COUNSELING, cilt.20, ss.287-293, 2011 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
A limited numbers of published studies evaluate the referral reasons for genetic counseling services in the literature. These studies are focused on prenatal genetic counseling services, in particular, prenatal diagnosis. In order to provide the most effective and helpful genetic counseling services, genetics professionals need adequate knowledge about the profile of individuals referred for these services. In addition, physicians need increased awareness of the nature of genetic issues in order to make appropriate referrals. This study was intended to provide a descriptive analysis of the referral reasons of patients that received genetic counseling at a genetics center in Izmir, Turkey during an 11-year period. A total of 8965 records generated between 1998 and 2008 from one genetic center (which consists of The Department of Medical Genetics and Division of Pediatric Genetics) were evaluated retrospectively. Of these, 6,258 involved referrals for prenatal reasons, and 2,707 involved referrals for postnatal reasons. Both prenatal and postnatal records were further classified into more specific categories of referral reasons. The most common reason for genetic counseling among the prenatal patients was advanced maternal age (42.0%), followed by high risk results on prenatal biochemical screening tests such as second trimester double test [(serum concentration of alphafetoprotein (AFP), beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-HCG)], triple test (serum concentration of AFP, beta-HCG, oestriol) and integrated test (26.5%). The most common indications for postnatal patients were recurrent miscarriages (28.2%) and infertility (19.7%). A significant increase in number of specific categories of referrals for genetic counseling was observed for the last 3 years after the establishment of the Medical Genetics Department. These data provide useful information about the frequency of referrals to the genetics department, and the feasibility of genetic services. Organization of genetic services and systematic procedures for genetic counseling and genetic testing may improve the public's awareness of genetics and ensure a high standard of patient care.