Genetic Counselor, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
I have worked as a genetic counselor in the prenatal and preconception fields for the last five years. I have worked closely with specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, maternal fetal medicine, genetics, primary care, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. In that time, I have had discussions with patients and their providers regarding options for pregnancy management in the case of identifying a genetic condition or structural anomaly prenatally. During a time of feeling helpless and without control, allowing patients the option to manage the pregnancy as they see fit oftentimes helps with the healing process. These options include continuation with specialty management, termination of pregnancy, and adoption. We routinely discuss the benefits, limitations, and risks associated with all options in our practice. My MS in genetic counseling helped in developing the skills needed to navigate these discussions with patients and their providers. I also have personal experience in political advocacy and passing policy to protect reproductive freedoms from college to present day. As a resident of Pennsylvania and a person who has had the ability to become pregnant for 16 years, I was acutely aware how much local, state, and national elections would affect mine and my patient's ability to access an abortion.