Prenatal & Preconception Genetic Testing & Counseling - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - Ascension Wisconsin

Skip to Content

Genetic Counseling & Testing

Prenatal and preconception genetic counseling is for women, couples or families who have questions or concerns about having a child with a specific genetic disorder, birth defects or chromosome abnormalities. It's available through our Prenatal Assessment Centers (PNAC), conveniently located at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints St. Luke’s Health Pavilion, Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph Campus and Wheaton Franciscan - Wauwatosa Campus.

Genetic counselors may also see women who are not considered at increased risk for birth defects or genetic disorders but are interested in routine screening during pregnancy.  

This service is available to those who are already pregnant or those considering children in the future (preconception). In addition, the genetic counselor may see individuals who may have or be at-risk for a genetic disorder, such as cancer or adult onset disorders.

Who Can Benefit from Prenatal or Preconception Genetic Counseling?

You may consider genetic counseling and/or testing for any of the following reasons:

  • Family history of a known or suspected genetic or chromosome disorder
  • Family history of intellectual disabilities or birth defects such as a congenital heart defect
  • Individual has or may be at-risk for a genetic disorder such as cancer or adult onset disorders
  • Previous child has a known or suspected genetic disorder or birth defects and there are questions/concerns about the chance for a future child to have similar findings
  • History of infertility or multiple pregnancy losses
  • Maternal age is over 35
  • Prenatal screening tests indicate an increased risk for a birth defect
  • Fetal ultrasound testing indicates birth defects or a possible chromosome or genetic disorder
  • Concerns about the effects of a medication or other exposure during the pregnancy
  • One or both partners are or may be a carrier of a genetic disorder due to their ethnic background
  • More information about genetic screening/testing is desired

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment for genetic counseling or testing, please call:

All Saints: 262-687-3111
St. Joseph Campus: 414-259-7480
Wauwatosa Campus: 414-259-7480

What to Expect

Genetic counselors gather detailed pregnancy, medical and family history. Special attention is given to family members who have suspected genetic disorders, birth defects, history of miscarriages, stillbirths, children with chronic health problems or intellectual disabilities, or any other major illnesses or chronic conditions that occur in the family. Ethnic background will be obtained, as well as the possibility that family members could be related by blood.

Genetic counselors provide information about the risks for an inherited disorder or birth defects in a current or future pregnancy, and discuss options for genetic testing and prenatal screening/testing.


If prenatal screening or testing is desired during a pregnancy, genetic counselors help women and couples understand the risks, benefits and limitations of each test. Some tests include:

  • First trimester screening
  • Maternal serum second trimester screening
  • Cell-free fetal DNA screening
  • Anatomy ultrasound
  • Chorionic villus sampling
  • Amniocentesis
  • Genetic carrier testing

During pregnancy, if a baby is found to have a birth defect or known or suspected chromosome or genetic disorder, information about this disorder, what to expect and options and resources for managing the pregnancy and for providing emotional and spiritual support will be discussed.

Genetic counselors and PNAC staff provide support, information and resources that reflect the beliefs and values of the family and of Wheaton.

Care Locations