Frequently Asked Questions

People often have a lot of questions about genetic testing, and these are a few that we hear a lot. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us!

How much does it cost?2022-01-09T22:54:35+08:00

Initial appointments are $199, and results and review appointments are $149. Private genetic testing has a flat fee of USD$250 (approx $300-400 Australian dollars) through Invitae, regardless of which test you choose. For detailed pricing and package information, see our Genetic Testing page.

There are currently no Medicare or private health insurance rebates for genetic counselling. The Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA) is working to improve private funding options for genetic testing and counselling services. If this is an important issue for you, you can speak to your private health fund or your local Member of Parliament.

You may be able to access genetic counselling free of charge in the public health system if you meet referral criteria, and some genetic tests are also covered by Medicare under strict criteria. If you are eligible for publicly funded services or testing, we will discuss this and can help you to access this through your specialist or a referral to the public genetic clinic.

Where is my appointment?2022-01-09T22:51:57+08:00

Most of our appointments are online by video-conference or by phone. This means that we can offer evening and weekend appointments, and see you at a time that suits you, wherever you are. We will send you a link that will open in any computer browser without downloading a program. You can also open it on your tablet or smartphone, click here for more information. If you prefer Zoom, Skype, Teams, or another video chat platform, please let us know.

We also offer occasional in-person appointments at the SouthWest Breast Clinic in Bunbury.

Use the Book Now button to see what’s available.

I just want the genetic test, what is a genetic counsellor and why do I need to see one?2022-01-09T22:51:19+08:00

Genetic Counsellors are Allied Health Professionals with specific training in human genetics, counselling and health communication. In Australia, genetic counsellors are trained and certified by the Human Genetics Society of Australasia.

Genetic counselling is a communication process to help you make decisions about genetic testing. There are many different genetic tests to choose from, and genetic counsellors can help you to understand the pros and cons of different genetic tests, if a genetic test will answer your questions, and if genetic testing is right for you and your family.

Genetic test results aren’t always black and white. Genetic counsellors work with you and with your doctors to help you manage your genetic risk and make sure that you get the right care.

Here are some other local resources about genetic counsellors and genetic counselling:

Allied Health Professions Australia-Genetic Counselling

Australasian Society of Genetic Counsellors-Frequently asked questions

Centre for Genetics Education-Genetic Counselling

How is the genetic testing done?2022-01-09T22:51:22+08:00

Most of our testing is done through Invitae. After your appointment, a medical-grade saliva collection kit is sent to you by post.

Limited Medicare rebates are available for some genetic tests. If you are eligible, we will discuss this with you and work with your doctor to arrange a blood sample to be tested at PathWest.

There are other test providers, and we can discuss the different options available to you at your appointment.

If I’m going to get cancer/I already have cancer/I’m totally healthy, what difference will genetic testing make?2022-01-09T22:51:49+08:00

Genetics is only part of what makes up your health. A genetic test won’t tell you that you will or won’t get cancer, but can tell you whether your risk is higher than someone else’s. You may be able to access earlier, more frequent or more sensitive cancer screening. You may also have other choices to prevent cancer, such as certain medications or preventive surgeries, and it may help you to make different lifestyle choices. Any option has benefits and limitations, and a genetic counsellor can talk you through them, and help you decide how you want to manage your risk. Even if your genetic test result is normal, a genetic counsellor can tell you if you might still be at risk based on your family history, or reassure you if you are not.

Even if you have cancer, some genetic tests can make a difference to your treatment, and you may have already spoken with your specialists about it. A genetic counsellor can work with you and your specialist to make sure that you get a genetic test result quickly that will give you the right information for your care.

If you had cancer a long time ago, there could still be a genetic cause. Finding out the cause of your cancer could be important for you, as you may still need extra screening for that type of cancer, or for other cancers. It could also be helpful for your family, so that they can have the best opportunity to reduce their risk or prevent cancer before it happens.

See Understanding Your Risk for more tools to help you understand your risk of cancer.

What will genetic testing mean for my insurance?2022-01-09T22:51:28+08:00

Your health insurance, public or private, is protected from genetic test results. However, a genetic test may have implications for “risk rated” insurances like life, disability, income protection, or travel insurance. An insurer can only ask you for your own genetic test result, not a result for one of your relatives. A limited moratorium on insurers asking for genetic test results will be trialed from July 2019. A genetic counsellor can provide you with up to date general information about what genetic testing means for your insurance. For detailed advice about your personal circumstances, you may need to speak with a legal, financial, or insurance professional. Further information is available from:

The Financial Services Council

The Centre for Genetics Education (Fact sheet 20)

I did a genetic test through another company. Can I discuss my results with you, and will you retest me?2022-01-09T22:51:41+08:00

If you provide us with a copy of your cancer gene test report, we can discuss the implications and limitations of your results with you, and whether re-testing is appropriate.

Not all labs are accredited for clinical grade testing (also see FAQ: Can’t I just order my own test online?). If you had testing through a lab that is not accredited, your results may need to be confirmed through a clinical lab before you use them to make choices about your health. Research labs are also held to different quality control standards, and a research result may need to be confirmed in a clinical lab before you and your family can make use of it. We can help you to arrange testing through a reliable, accredited, clinical lab to ensure you get the most accurate and helpful results.

Tests done through reliable, accredited labs are highly accurate, and the chance of error is very low. Repeating these tests is unlikely to give you any new information. However, if you wish to expand your testing to include other genes or conditions, we can discuss your options in an appointment.

Can’t I just order my own genetic test online?2022-01-09T22:51:32+08:00

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests are usually purchased and have results provided over the internet, without the involvement of your doctor or a healthcare provider. There can be limitations and risks with this type of testing, and it is important to have all of the information you need before deciding on any test. You may wish to consider:

    • Will this test answer my questions? Will it tell me something I don’t want to know?
    • Will this test have implications for my insurance? (See FAQ: What will testing mean for my insurance?)
    • Will my results be private? Who will have access to my genetic information?

You may want to find out more from:

Lab Tests Online Australasia “Online DNA tests”

The National Health and Medical Research Council “Understanding Direct-to-Consumer Genetic DNA Testing”

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australia (Fact Sheet 9) “What should I know about Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing?”

Where else can I get genetic testing?2022-01-09T22:51:36+08:00

For your safety, it is important to be sure that you are working with an appropriately qualified provider. More information about the qualification of genetic health professionals in Australia is available through the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA). The HGSA publishes a list of public and private clinical genetic services by state and a register of qualified genetic counsellors. An up-to date list of public clinics can be found at the Centre for Genetics Education.

Genetic Services of WA (GSWA) is the only statewide public genetic service for Western Australia. Services are generally covered by Medicare, but there are criteria for access to appointments and testing, and wait-lists for services. Public genetic services are also available in other states, but their services are generally limited to people living in that state.

Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic tests are usually purchased and have results provided over the internet, without the involvement of your doctor or a healthcare provider. There can be limitations and risks with this type of testing, and it is important to have all of the information you need before deciding on any test. See FAQ: “Can’t I just order my own test online?” above for more information

Get in touch

We’d love to hear your questions, comments, and feedback, and hear how we can work together. The quickest way to reach us is by email or through our contact form. Please let us know how we can help. Thanks for visiting, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Please be aware that we can only give general information (not medical advice or clinical information) outside of an appointment.

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