What is the cost of my appointment and any genetic testing?
The New Zealand genetic service is a publicly funded service and patients are not expected to pay for their appointment or genetic testing offered.
Someone in my family has had genetic testing and I’ve received a family letter—what do I do now?
If you have received a family letter indicating you may benefit from a genetic counselling appointment, please make an appointment with your GP to ask them to refer you to your local genetic service, or contact us directly. Please ask the GP to include a copy for your family letter with the referral.
How long do I have to wait for an appointment?
Waiting times for an appointment with the genetic service depends on the urgency of the referral and whether further information is required for a genetics assessment to take place. You should receive some correspondence from our service as to what your waiting time for an appointment may be.
It is important to note that regional clinics occur less frequently than in the central cities and if you would prefer to be seen in a regional clinic the waiting time may be prolonged.
How long does genetic testing usually take?
The time period between having your blood drawn and receiving a result depends on the type of genetic test and where the genetic testing is completed. The waiting period could range from 2 working days to 12 working weeks. Details regarding the genetic test, location of testing and waiting period for a result are explained in the genetic appointment.
It is difficult for me to travel. Does your service offer telephone appointments?
We do have an option for patients to have a phone appointment with our service but it may be more appropriate to have a face to face appointment.
Do I have to have genetic testing if I come to an appointment?
No, if genetic testing is offered to you, this is optional. A genetics appointment is to provide a patient with information regarding their risk of a genetic condition and facilitate decision making. Genetic testing may not be the right course of action for every patient.
How can I organise paternity testing?
The genetic service does not offer paternity testing. A legal paternity test can be accessed through the private sector.
Are there any private options for genetic testing?
There are private genetic services available outside of GHSNZ. If you choose to go privately we would recommend you pursue genetic testing at a private service with genetic professionals, such as a Clinical Geneticist and Genetic Counsellor. You will be able to find contact details for private genetic services on the internet.
What is your opinion on online/direct to consumer genetic testing?
It is increasingly common for people to organise their own genetic testing through the internet via direct to consumer genetic testing sites, and to use the raw data files provided by these companies for further 3rd party analysis by online companies. We do not recommend this approach to genetic testing as results from such analyses are very hard to interpret, results may not be officially validated and are often of uncertain quality. If people are concerned about their personal or family history and want to explore their genetic risks it is better for them to discuss this with their GP and if appropriate for their GP to refer them on to the genetics service for review.
How often is cancer hereditary?
Only about 5% of all cancers are related to an inherited susceptibility.
You have such an interesting job! How can I become a genetic counsellor?
There are training programs offered in Australia at a post-graduate level as a masters degree. Most programs require an individual to have an undergraduate degree with some genetic component and experience (volunteered or paid) in counselling and/or genetics. If you are interested in becoming a genetic counsellor please click here.