Health Department – Genetics

Happy multi generation familyThe University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Peoria offers genetics clinics, counseling and services to residents of LaSalle County.

Genetic counseling involves working with individuals or families who may have concerns about family histories of medical problems such as cancer, heart defects, adult onset of conditions, metabolic and chromosome disorders. Genetic counseling may also involve working with an individual or family who may be at risk for an inherited condition or birth defect. These services are available to LaSalle County resident’s ages infant to adulthood. Preconception counseling service is also offered.
To learn more about the genetics program, contact LCHD @ (815) 433-3366.

What is a Genetic Clinic

  • A clinic that is staffed by a medical geneticist (a doctor who specializes in genetics), a genetic counselor and a nurse.
  • The geneticist or genetic counselor will ask you questions about the health of each member of your family. Any medical records or family photographs need to be presented at this time.
  • The geneticist will examine and talk with members of the family to determine if there is a possible genetic condition.
  • Laboratory tests (blood or urine samples) may be needed to help make a diagnosis or to look for any other medical problems.
  • If there is a genetic condition in the family, the geneticist will talk about what this means. He will explain the symptoms of the condition and what you can expect to happen in the future.
  • The genetic counselor will talk with you about how the genetic condition is passed down in the family and whether it will reappear in another family member or in future children.

Genetic counselors do not recommend whether or not couples should have children. Such decisions can only be made by the couples themselves.

Who Needs Genetic Counseling?

Anyone who has:

  • A family member with a birth defect
  • A family member with a known genetic condition or chromosome disorder normally, either mentally or physically
  • A family history of a medical problem
  • A family member with a learning disability or developmentally delayed
  • Concerns about exposure during pregnancy to alcohol, drugs, chemicals, radiation or infection
  • Two or more miscarriages or babies who were stillborn or premature
  • Parents who are blood relatives
  • Concerns about genetic problems that occur more often in people of their ethnic background
  • A family member with a heritable condition