A cross-sectional survey of genetic counselors providing carrier screening regarding GBA variants and Parkinson disease susceptibility

Tara A. Jones, Jeanine Schulze, Sharon Aufox, Jason Rothstein, Aishwarya Arjunan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Adult-onset disease risks associated with carriers of recessive disease have and will continue to be identified. As carrier screening becomes more broadly utilized, providers face the dilemma of whether they should discuss these risks during discussions with prospective parents. This study aimed to understand whether preconception/prenatal genetic counselors (PPGCs) were aware of the risk of Parkinson disease in carriers of, and persons with, Gaucher disease and the reasons behind choosing whether to discuss this risk with patients. Methods: Eligible participants included board-certified or board-eligible genetic counselors who had counseled preconception/prenatal patients within the past 3 years. An online survey was distributed via the National Society of Genetic Counselors in November of 2017. Results: One hundred twenty genetic counselors completed the quantitative survey, distributed in Fall of 2017. While the majority of respondents knew of the Gaucher-related Parkinson’s link (n = 78; 65%), just over one-third reported discussing it in preconception/prenatal settings (n = 30; 38.5%). Respondents reported discussing these links more consistently when disclosing positive results or when the patient/family approached the topic. Respondents cited the lack of professional guidelines as one of the main reasons for not discussing the link. Conclusion: These results highlight an inconsistency in PPGCs’ discussions of the Parkinson’s risk in Gaucher disease carriers, and the need to develop guidelines regarding these issues to help standardize the care and education of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-755
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Carrier risks
  • Carrier screening
  • Informed consent
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal testing
  • Secondary findings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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