Genetic counselling is so much still a taboo even amongst many people who understand the importance of the healthcare sector. Mr Vikas Bhatia, a father who lost all his three children to a rare genetic disorder emphasizes that this perspective needs serious introspection. This perspective, when addressed by couples while planning a family, can have large consequences on the burden of children with rare disorders. Thus he appeals to soon to be parents to become aware of any unnatural incidences of newborn children in their family and thus approach a genetic counsellor to understand their options without holding themselves back. He cites former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee’s campaigns for centralizing newborn screening in India as Cochlear’s Global Hearing Ambassador. Mr Bhatia reinstates that uniformly executing newborn screening across the nation can pose as a game changer as it can say suppose save 27,000 new-borns with congenital heart defects by performing surgeries if detected early. Now imagine the magnanimity of implementing newborn screening that can screen for about 50 such treatable or manageable disorders.
We approached a genetic counsellor to understand how the component of counselling fits in newborn screening. Dr Meenakshi Bhat very clearly mentions the importance of counselling during pregnancy.
Also, by having a genetic counsellor by the side of a gynaecologist during routine check-ups for an expecting mother will always add more value to couples embracing parenthood. Being a parent himself, Mr Bhatia talks about the cooperation required between gynaecologists and genetic counsellors to deal with high-risk pregnancies.