The Benefits of Telemedicine in Reproductive and Prenatal Genetic Services

It is often said that home is where the heart is. But thanks to the pandemic, most of us have had the rest of our bodies in our homes as well. We have become homebodies in every sense of the word: home is where we are hanging our hats, book bags, briefcases … and sweatpants.

Over the course of the pandemic, millions of people have met with their doctors from home as well. The benefits of remote health services are becoming well-documented. In fact, virtual health care may become the new normal. Many patients and providers have grown accustomed to the perks of remote health care including an increase in safety, convenience and efficiency and a decrease in cost and time.

Genome Medical provided genetic services via telehealth and virtual care delivery even before the onset of the pandemic. Innovative care delivery models have been an important aspect of how we’ve expanded access to genomic medicine.

Telemedicine is a particularly good fit for reproductive and prenatal genetic counseling services for two main reasons. First, pregnancy can be rough. Morning sickness, fatigue, heartburn and sleep disorders are only the tip of the iceberg of what women can experience during pregnancy. Meeting with your clinician from the comfort of your home is especially beneficial when you aren’t feeling well.

Second, reproductive and prenatal genetic counseling often involves an in-depth discussion of your personal and family history, genetic risks, screening and testing options and results. Telemedicine is a perfect platform for providing patients with insights and education without the necessity of a physical exam. Your genetic counselor can help you determine which genetic tests are right for you, your partner and your baby, what each test involves, and what information it can provide.

Types of Prenatal Tests

Since the 1950s and the advent of amniocentesis, numerous preconception and prenatal genetic screening and testing options have become available, including:

  • Carrier screening
  • First trimester screening
  • Non-invasive genetic testing, also known as non-invasive genetic screening, NIPT, NIPS, cell-free fetal DNA
  • Detailed anatomy scan, also known as a level II ultrasound
  • Second trimester screening

A Genome Medical genetic counselor can help you through the entire process, from test authorization and ordering, to sample kit home delivery, to results disclosure and interpretation.

So what’s the take-home message? Rather than add yet another health care appointment to your schedule, why not schedule your genetic appointment from the comfort of your own couch – sweatpants optional.