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Providing Answers After Loss (PAAL) Program

Helping Families Understand Why

Why? This question goes unanswered for many families who experience the loss of a pregnancy or the passing of a newborn, making the grieving process even more difficult. This unanswered question may also result in the family choosing not to have additional children because of the fear of the unknown. Unfortunately, many families encounter barriers preventing them from pursuing further testing to help identify the cause of their loss. These barriers include the fact that medical insurance often will not pay for additional testing after the loss.

The team at the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is working to help find the answers and to provide families with counseling and support as they plan for the future.

What the PAAL Program Provides

Families who experience a loss where the underlying cause is unknown or where a genetic cause is suspected but not yet proven may be eligible to participate in our Providing Answers After Loss (PAAL) program. The PAAL program helps offset costs for advanced testing, including the most current genetic studies to help families find answers.

Advanced Testing

Information from these tests can provide a diagnosis over 40% of the time, which gives families information to help them make informed decisions. A multidisciplinary team consisting of genetic counselors, medical geneticists, maternal-fetal medicine physicians, and neonatologists review appropriate cases to determine whether additional testing could potentially provide useful information.

Depending on what questions remain unanswered, targeted genetic testing or post-mortem studies conducted by highly experienced perinatal pathologists from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine are available.

Genetic Counseling

If a genetic diagnosis is identified as the cause of a family’s loss, genetic counseling is available to help families understand the diagnosis and its risk of recurring in future pregnancies. In some cases, the recurrence risk is elevated. In others, the odds are actually very low. Knowing these risks can help families make informed decisions about future pregnancies and to understand available medical and nonmedical testing options. The genetic counselor can also help determine if other family members are at risk for having similarly affected offspring and should consider testing. All of this information is discussed with the family in a personal, nonjudgmental manner.

For more information about this program, please call the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon St. Louis Fetal Care Institute at 314-268-4037.

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