Matchmaker, Make Me a (Genetic) Match!

By Shannon Wieloch — February 15, 2018

1 min read

Well, now that I’ve got that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, you might be thinking you know where I’m going with this.

A blog post from a genetic counselor in the month of February with those lyrics as a lead in? She’s going to tell me how to find my soulmate through genetic testing, right?

Nope. Been there. Done that. And really, it’s a thing.

Where I’m going with this is to a concept that many a genetic counselors have done, just not under the title of “matchmaker”.

Don’t get me wrong, that has been some more conventional matchmaking asked of me in my profession. For instance, a multitude of patients have asked me which donor is best for them to use after reviewing their own and their donor’s genetic test results. (Spoiler alert, a genetic counselor will never tell you what to do but will instead help give you the information you need to make your own decision… besides, there are a lot of other things that go into picking the right donor.)

But there is a form of matchmaking that I, and many other genetic counselors, have done. And that’s to connect one patient to another.

Whether it’s a prenatal genetic counselor connecting two soon-to-be moms who’ve received a prenatal diagnosis of spina bifida; a pediatric genetic counselor joining two parents whose children have Down syndrome; or an adult genetic counselor uniting two patients undergoing testing for Huntington’s disease; genetic counselors see the value in patient connections.

Your doctor is their to provide you with the answers to your medical questions; your family will (hopefully) support you through thick and thin; your friends will like Facebook posts and may even send you an edible arrangement. But rarely is there anyone who can relate to you the way that someone who is in the same position as you can.

Whether it’s a history of recurrent pregnancy loss, gestational diabetes, or a positive prenatal screen, ask your genetic counselor or healthcare provider if they can hook you up with a fellow patient. Yes, there are HIPPA laws to abide by and a medical professional should never share a patient’s information without their willing consent, but it couldn’t hurt to ask if someone has volunteered their services.

Because you never know how badly that other person needs a matchmaker too.