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 Frequently Asked Questions

What is genetic counselling?

Genetic counselling is available to individuals, families, or couples. It is a way to learn about genetic or hereditary disorders, the impact of these disorders on health or learning and the chance that they might be passed on to future generations. This information helps people make decisions about their health care, their pregnancy management, and their children's health care.

What is a genetic counselor?

Genetic counsellors typically have a postgraduate university degree, a Masters of Science, specializing in medical genetics. Genetic counsellors are able to interpret complex genetic and medical information and explain it in terms understandable by most people. They are trained in assessing family histories, providing information about genetic conditions and how genetic conditions occur in families.

What is a geneticist?

Geneticists are medical doctors who specialize in Genetics. Geneticists review the family and medical history and examine patients who have been referred, to diagnose genetic conditions.

What should I bring to my genetics appointment?

For all genetics appointments, please bring your health card and another form of photo identification.

Most of the time, your doctor's office has already sent us the appropriate information and you do not need to bring anything with you. If you, or your child, have been treated at a centre outside of Canada, it might be helpful to bring that medical information with you to the appointment.

If you have been referred because of a family history of a known, or suspected genetic condition, your doctor's office might not have the medical records of the affected individual. In these instances, if you have information about the affected individual such as medical records, test results and photographs, please bring these to the appointment. For example, if a family member has already undergone genetic testing, a copy of their test result would be helpful.

This information is not mandatory, but would be helpful in providing you with the most accurate genetic counselling, and may allow us to expedite testing for you or your child, where appropriate.

What can I expect during my appointment?

Each genetics consultation will be different, depending on the reason you, or your family member, has been referred. You may be meeting with a genetic counsellor or a geneticist, and sometimes, with both.

A typical genetic counselling appointment includes a discussion about the reason you have been referred and a review of your family and medical history, where appropriate. The genetic counsellor/geneticist will help interpret the results of any testing you may have already had, as well as any additional genetic testing that might be available. In some cases, additional information about family members may be required, and the process of obtaining these records will be discussed.

A typical consultation with a geneticist includes a review of your,or your family member's, medical and family history. An appointment with a geneticist might include a physical exam. When appropriate, genetic testing might be arranged. If a genetic condition has been confirmed in you, or your child, the geneticist will discuss the appropriate management and prognosis for you, and discuss implications for your family members.

How long can I expect to be at the genetics appointment?

Prepare to be here for at least one hour. Please try to arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment for registration. Allow extra time for parking as the hospital is very busy and parking spaces are limited.

Is a genetics appointment mandatory?

No, coming to genetics to see a geneticist or a genetic counsellor is an individual's choice. However, some genetic tests are available only after a genetic counselling appointment. If you decide not to come to your appointment, please let Genetics know by calling 905-813-4104.

Can I book an appointment for myself?

No. An appointment to Genetics can only be made through a referral from your doctor or other healthcare provider (ie. midwife). You can direct your healthcare provider to the following link for more information: How to make a referral »

Where are you located?

What are your hours?

The Genetics clinic is open between 8am-5pm, Monday to Thursday, Friday 8am-4pm.

Patients seen in Genetics are scheduled for an appointment. Drop in appointments are not available.

How is genetic testing done?

Most genetic tests on children and adults are performed on a blood sample. Sometimes a cheek swab, urine sample or skin sample might be required.

Prenatal testing for many genetic conditions can be performed by procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis

Do I have to pay for genetic testing?

For Ontario residents, genetic counseling and testing is usually covered by OHIP.

How do I book my FTS/IPS ultrasound?

There are a number of ultrasound units that offer FTS/IPS ultrasounds. For a list of these units, click here » A patient can usually call to make the appointment themselves. However, you will need a requisition form from your healthcare provider to have FTS/IPS.

Are there special preparations for genetic bloodwork?

No. Fasting is not required for most genetic testing.

How do I book an amniocentesis?

If you wish to have amniocentesis because you will be at least 40 years of age at the time of delivery and have no other genetic risk factors, your doctor or midwife can arrange an amniocentesis for you.

If you wish to have amniocentesis because you have a family history of a genetic condition or because you have received an abnormal test result in your pregnancy, if appropriate, amniocentesis will be arranged for you by the Clinical Genetics staff following a consultation.

How do I get my amniocentesis results?

The result of your amniocentesis will be given to you by the office/department who organized the testing for you. This might be your doctor, midwife or Clinical Genetics staff.

How do I get my genetic test results?

You will be booked for an appointment to discuss the result with a geneticist or genetic counsellor.