Patient Characteristics
The personal concerns of the patient must be taken into consideration. A woman who has conceived and aborted several fetuses because of a genetic defect may decide not to try again even if her theoretical chances of bearing a healthy child are good. A defect that might seem difficult to one family may seem minor to another. There are many cases of women giving birth to child after child affected with the same genetic problem without creating family problems. There are also cases of women institutionalizing or relinquishing children with relatively minor problems because they were psychologically unprepared to cope with the child’s needs. Patients receiving genetic counseling should be encouraged to consider their personal feelings about the anticipated disabilities the child could suffer.