Genetic Counselling


At the Health Unit we offer diagnostic, counselling and testing services to individuals and families with genetic concerns. This includes:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of genetic disorders after symptoms begin
  • Information and advice about genetic conditions to people at risk of a hereditary disorder
  • Discussion of the chance of developing a disorder and of passing a disorder on to others
  • Information about the ways in which a disorder may be prevented or helped
  • Arranging genetic testing and understanding the results

This information can help individuals to make personal decisions about their health, pregnancies or their child's health.

 Preconception/ Prenatal Counselling

Individuals/ couples who are currently pregnant or are planning a pregnancy may be referred to the Genetics Program for any of the following reasons:

  • 3 or more miscarriages
  • 40 years or older at delivery
  • Exposure to potentially harmful substances (drugs, alcohol, radiation, chemicals, infectious agents) during pregnancy
  • Positive prenatal screening result
  • Abnormal ultrasound findings
  • Previous child with a birth defect
  • Previous child with a chromosome abnormality or other genetic disorder
  • Specific ethnic group that may have a higher incidence of certain disorders (e.g. Tay Sachs in Ashkenazi Jewish, Cystic Fibrosis in Caucasians)
  • Consanguinity (couples who are related "by blood"; e.g. first cousins)

Preconception/ prenatal information

 General Clinical Genetics

Individuals and families may be referred to the Genetics Program for any of the following reasons:

  • Birth defect(s) or multiple congenital anomalies (e.g. cleft lip/palate, heart defects, spina bifida)
  • Developmental delay of unknown cause
  • Sensory impairments (e.g. vision, hearing)
  • Metabolic disorders (e.g. PKU, galactosemia)
  • Known/suspected genetic disorders (e.g. Down syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington Disease)
  • A family history of a hereditary disorder
  • Carrier of a genetic disorder

General genetics information:

 Cancer Genetics

We offer assessment and counselling for individuals and families who are at an increased risk of hereditary cancer syndromes.

Families with hereditary cancer syndromes generally have the following:

  • Same or related cancers occurring in several generations
  • Three or more relatives affected
  • Onset before 50 years of age
  • Individuals with multiple primary cancers 

If you are unsure as to whether your family is at an increased risk of a hereditary cancer syndrome, please speak with your health care provider and he/she will advise you on whether a referral to the Genetics Program is appropriate.

 Cancer information:

 Huntington Disease

Multidisciplinary clinics for assessment and ongoing follow-up for families with Huntington disease are held twice a year in North Bay, Sturgeon Falls and Sudbury.

These clinics involve a team of specialists including:

  • Neurology
  • Genetics
  • Social work

 Huntington disease information:

Huntington Society of Canada

North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)