About Counsyl

In business since 2008, Counsyl is a genetic testing company who can screen you and your spouse for 100+ genetic diseases that could be passed on to your children. The company compares their services to “an ultrasound for your genes,” and claims that their goal is “to make the human genome practically useful for life-altering decisions.”

Counsyl was founded in 2007, and has been featured in TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, and more. The company holds an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, and just three closed complaints over the past 36 months. Regarding their services specifically, online reviews appeared to be mostly positive, with the most common complaint that the costs were not covered by insurance.

How Counsyl Works

According to the Counsyl website, the vast majority of us are carriers of one genetic defect or another. This typically isn’t a big deal though, since we need two sets of the same defective gene (one from each of our parents) in order to experience any negative symptoms. However, when we decide to have children of our own, we need to be mindful of any genetic defects that our partner may have that could be passed on.

Because most parents of children who are suffering from genetic diseases have no family history of that disease, Counsyl can screen you and your spouse for more than 100 genetic disorders, including Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X Syndrome, some types of epilepsy, and much more. While there are thousands of genetic diseases, Counsyl claims they focus on the 100 that are most “actionable,” meaning that, regardless of the symptoms they exhibit, they can help you “plan for a healthy family.”

Having your genes tested through Counsyl is a simple three-step process:

  1. Have one tube of blood drawn, place your order, and your genes are then analyzed.
  2. Your physician is provided with the results of your analysis, and with their permission, they’re released to you.
  3. Counsyl’s genetic counselors can guide you through the results at no additional charge. In addition, the company also offers clinical support.

Overall, Counsyl claims that less than 1% of their clients are carriers of the same genetic disease. However, for those who are, this translates into a 25% chance that your children will be affected with symptoms of that disease.

Related: Harmony Prenatal Test Review

Counsyl Pricing

If you have health insurance, Counsyl claims you will typically pay no more than $99 to have your test performed. Without insurance, the same test will cost you $599.

If you pay for Counsyl’s testing service using a credit card (versus going through insurance), you’ll be eligible for a full refund if you contact support@counsyl.com and cancel your order prior to shipment. Once it’s been shipped, it can be returned unopened, but you’ll be subject to a $50 processing fee.

Pros:

  • Using just one vial of blood, claims to be able to screen for more than 100 genetic diseases.
  • Simple three-step process.
  • Genetic counselors available to discuss your results at no additional charge.
  • Primarily positive online reviews.

Cons:

  • Counsyl’s test is not universal – there are thousands of genetic diseases (not just 100).
  • Expensive, and may not be covered by all insurance plans.

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18 Customer Reviews for Counsyl

Average Customer Rating: 1.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 1 4 stars: 1 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 2 1 stars: 14
Bottom Line: 11% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 18
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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Tired of waiting.

    I thought this was a good idea. But I was told a week. It's been over a week. I called and emailed to see how much longer, but nobody has returned anything. At that rate, I could have waited and paid for better service and just gotten an ultrasound and then done the testing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Good idea, poor execution

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Apr 24, 2017

    First: The tests themselves. I'm not certain why Counsyl offers the tests that they do. One of them tests only a very limited number of things, literally just a couple trisomies and fragile X syndrome. That cost $350.

    Because I spend a significant amount of time in 2 different parts of the country, I have 2 OBs, and after hearing that I took the Counsyl test, my second OB recommended that I get another test done. It cost maybe $100, it tests a far larger range of things (something like 300 diseases), and it quantifies your risk, rather than just saying low vs. high risk.

    As my OB pointed out, well, what is low risk? What someone may consider low risk, you may consider uncomfortably high. And recommendations/cut-offs may change over time, but a number is more concrete. I think it's questionable for a company to charge so much for a test that looks for so little, and doesn’t give terribly useful information — when there are clearly other tests out there that do much more for less.

    Very poorly run. They couldn't pull up all of my results.

    Then, they called me for payment. I've paid every bill they've sent, but they DIDN'T HAVE MY RESULTS. Maybe they should look into that. When I pointed this out to the representative, then he suddenly realized that, hey, maybe it's their problem.

    Finally, the phlebotomists that they contract are very hit or miss. Our first one was really sweet and went out of his way to help us while we were out of the country, going so far as to contact our physician for us. I even wrote to Counsyl about him, saying how much I appreciated his service. The second one was, frankly, a b****. She couldn't figure out how to get to my apartment, so she gave me a bunch of attitude over the phone.

    My apartment isn't that difficult to find, we had no problem finding it when we drove in from out-of-state to look at it the first time, seeing as there aren't that many buildings at that intersection or on those blocks to begin with, and only one of them is an apartment. Yet, she kept ranting like this was my fault.

    Here's a hint: Do your research beforehand on the internet, rather than blaming other people. It's not like you didn't know beforehand that you had to drive out to a client's place. Putting my address in shows you a picture of the building front you're looking for, especially since it's actually a pretty famous/historical building, so there's not much excuse there.

    When she came to my unit, I asked her to put on booties, and she gave me more crap by saying, “Seriously?” with attitude. Yes, seriously. Your entire job consists of drawing blood at a time and location convenient to your client. I'm sure plenty of people choose their homes, and many people, particularly if they are Asian, remove shoes in the house. I didn't even ask her to do that. I merely asked her to put on booties, which, as a medical worker, you should be entirely familiar with.

    Then, she dropped one of my vials, cracking it and spilling blood all over my floor, contaminating my sample. I get that things happen, but she wasn't even very communicative afterwards about if the remaining vial contained enough blood for my test. I had to get that information from a Counsyl representative directly. Basically, this woman had a terrible attitude. I can overlook the mishaps, but not when you're behaving the way that you are, and not in my home.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 25, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

    • May 9, 2017

      Dmisc

      First, in regards to the tests themselves. I'm not certain why Counsyl offers the tests that they do. One of them tests only a limited number of things, literally just a couple trisomies, and fragile X-syndrome which costs $350. I spend a significant amount of time in two different parts of the country, so I have two obstetricians. After hearing that I took the Counsyl test, my second obstetrician recommended that I get another test done. It cost maybe $100, and it tests a much wider range of things, about 300 diseases. It also quantifies your risk, rather than just saying low versus high risk.

      As my obstetrician pointed out, "well, what is low risk?" What someone may consider low risk, you may consider uncomfortably high. Recommendation and cut-off ranges may change over time, but a number is more concrete. I think it's questionable, for a company to charge so much for a test that doesn’t give terribly useful information and does not test for a wide variety of things. When there are clearly other tests out there that do much more for a better price.

      My first obstetrician recommended two Counsyl tests for me to take, bringing the total cost of Counsyl tests to over $400, but adding only a single disease. I also have serious doubts that this additional disease wasn't already covered by the one recommended by my other obstetrician because cystic fibrosis is a common and known disease. Counsyl tests seem to be a really bad value.

      I also think the company is very poorly run. They couldn't pull up all of my results. Then, they called me for payment. I've paid every bill you've sent, but you didn't have my results. Maybe you should look into that. When I pointed this out to the representative, and he didn’t see my test there either. He suddenly realized "hey, maybe it's our problem."

      Finally, the phlebotomists that they contracted with are a hit or miss. Our first one was sweet and went out of his way to help us while we were out of the country, going so far as contacting our physician for us. I even wrote to Counsyl about him, saying how much I appreciated his service.

      The second one was, frankly very unpleasant. She couldn't figure out how to get to my apartment and gave me a bunch of attitude over the phone. My apartment isn't that difficult to find, and we had no problem finding it when we drove in from out-of-state to look at it the first time. There aren't many buildings at that intersection or on those blocks, to begin with, only one of them is an apartment. She kept ranting like this was my fault. Here's a hint, do your research beforehand on the internet, rather than blaming other people. It's not like you didn't know that you had to drive out to a client's place. So put in my address, then it will show you a picture of the front of the building you're looking for. There's not much excuse there, especially since it is a pretty famous historical building.

      When she came to my unit, I asked her to put on booties, and she gave me more crap, saying, "Seriously?" with attitude. Yes, seriously. Your entire job consists of drawing blood one at a time and having a location that is convenient for your client. I'm sure plenty of people choose their homes, and many people, particularly if they are Asian remove shoes in the house. I didn't even ask you to do that. I merely asked you to put on booties, which as a medical worker, you should be entirely familiar with that.

      Then, she dropped one of my vials, cracking it and spilling blood all over my floor, contaminating my sample. I get that things happen, but she wasn't even communicating afterward. Especially, about the remaining vial if it contained enough blood for my test. I had to get that information from a Counsyl representative directly. Basically, this woman had a terrible attitude. I can overlook the mishaps, but not when you're behaving the way that you are, and not in my home.

    • May 11, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl. We see that you have updated your review and would be happy to speak with you to address your additional concerns. Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with the title "HighYa Review" and your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Awful experience and a total waste of time

    Three weeks ago, I did the Counsyl Family Prep screening. I tested positive for one autosomal recessive condition, DPD deficiency. Counsyl then recommended that my husband be tested. After 2.5 weeks of waiting for results, we just received them, and learned that Counsyl did not test my husband for this condition, "based on patient's reported ethnicity."

    This is nonsense because both my husband and I are Caucasians with ancestry in Northern Europe. In other words, if they bothered to test me, it makes no sense that they would not test him.

    The report is also completely useless to us because it tells me that I am a carrier and that my husband's carrier status is "unknown" (again, because they did not test him).

    The entire Counsyl test has been a complete waste of time, money, and worry to us, and we are no better informed after this test than we were before it. Shame on Counsyl. This borders on malpractice.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 14, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana, and I am a member of the client services team at Counsyl.

      We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far, and I would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Dishonest

    I paid out of pocket for this test, only to find out that there are different panels and that my husband and I got tested on different panels. Therefore, I need to repeat the test and pay again. They won't even wave the fee the second time. They have the market cornered, but they need better customer service.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 12, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hello,

      My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl.

      We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far and would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Dishonest company

    I paid an upfront co-pay at the lab, and no other cost was ever indicated. Then I received an invoice via email for $349. I would never have agreed to the test with this price tag attached. Dishonest at best, a scam at worst. My phone calls and emails have not been returned.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 7, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi Heather,

      My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far and would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to send us an email at support@counsyl.com with your contact information at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

      Thank you for your time,

      Attiana

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  • Outstanding service, from order through to reporting and counselling

    • Sydney, Australia,
    • Mar 2, 2017

    We were recommended to take the test pre-conception by our fertility specialist as we have a family history on both sides. We ordered the test online, received our saliva collection kits overnight, and results were available within two weeks. We both tested positive for several conditions, and a couple of which we were both carriers, placing our future pregnancy at risk.

    We received a follow-up call the day our results were released to book a genetic counseling appointment for the following day. The genetics counselor explained each of the conditions we tested positive for in detail, the risk it was to our pregnancy, broader implications to our extended family and provided options moving forward to screen a future pregnancy. A summary letter of our consultation was sent to us and our fertility specialist the same day. I work in pediatric healthcare and from professional experience, compared to other options available locally, the speed and quality of the service is outstanding.

    For those thinking of pre-conception screening, I couldn't recommend Counsyl highly enough. Thank you!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Mar 7, 2017

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi Nicholas,

      Thank you for your review! We are so happy that you had a positive experience with Counsyl. We love hearing from our customers and truly value being part of their lives. The fact that you were able to use the results to plan your future pregnancy is what drives us. If there is anything else we can do for you, be sure to let us know.

      Best,

      Counsyl

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Insurance scam

    • Florida,
    • Feb 24, 2017

    This company is shady at best.

    I was emailed saying that my insurance company required genetic counseling and once complete, insurance would cover the cost of testing. I completed the counseling, which was billed to my insurance company and paid for. I received my results the morning after the counseling. Then a week later I received a bill for $349 with a notation that my carrier had denied the pre-certification.

    After speaking with my insurance carrier, it was revealed that the pre-certification was canceled. Counsyl never told me this. They said it was denied. My carrier says Counsyl is not contracted with them, in short, Counsyl doesn't take my insurance, never did and knew that but proceeded with the testing anyway. And billed me.

    It is a HUGE scam. Very disreputable. I have contacted the California Department of Insurance and have complained. I will also be contacting my attorney. And I will be letting my doctor know that they should never, ever use this company. And I would recommend anyone considering doing business with this lab, or company, to find another.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Don't get your blood drawn

    The doctor told me that I could have my blood drawn and decide later if I would like to proceed with the test. The company processed my sample without my authorization. I refuse to pay the bill. This is a scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Dec 20, 2016

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi Amanda,

      My name is Attiana and I am a member of the Client Services team at Counsyl. We sincerely apologize for the experience that you have had thus far and would be happy to speak with you to address your concerns.

      Please feel free to contact us at 888 COUNSYL (888-268-6795) at your earliest convenience. We hope to hear from you soon!

      Thank you for your time,

      Attiana

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  • So far so good

    • Florida,
    • Jun 28, 2016

    I have just used Counsyl services and I have to say everything is going ok. They sent me an email saying my insurance won't cover the genetics, so they would invoice me for $700 with a final arrangement of $350. I went in their website and applied for some financial aid, because there are more things that my insurance doesn't cover and we need to save money. They asked me some questions and then they "got my back" and I shouldn't pay for those genetics. The customer service was very helpful and the response was pretty quick.

    The only downside is that the results (at least the ones I could see in my provider portal) didn't show the ranges, just said "normal" and not any more, wish it was more explicit.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Terrible experience

    • San Diego,
    • Feb 14, 2016

    My first experience with Counsyl was last year when my doctor recommended I take the test due to my age (35). It was a terrible experience since my baby had full Trisomy 13 and the genetic counselors were very short with me when I got emotional over the news. Which was disappointing, since obviously it was a terrible news that my baby had a fatal condition. As far as the billing went, it was smooth and my insurance covered in full.

    After losing that baby my husband and I decided to try again and we are now on our second pregnancy. My doctor suggested we do the test again due to our track record. This time it has been a horrible experience. I received a bill for $750 that said they contacted my insurance but had not heard back, but that if I wanted to do self pay it would go down to $349. Then at the bottom of the email it said I need a doctor's note as to WHY I need the test, even though my doctor filled out the form and they have my past records. So I called the billing and just got the run around. I was basically told I need to be the link between Counsyl and my insurance, since Sharp Healthcare doesn't have an electronic portal. Which doesn't make any sense when Sharp is the one that told me to get the test done. So now I am spending hours on the phone trying to get this resolved. It adds so much stress to an already nerve racking test. I would certainly ask your provider if there are any other companies that provide these results prior to agreeing to using Counsyl.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 19, 2016

      Counsyl Support, Customer Support

      Hi J, my name is Tracy and I'm the Director of Client Services at Counsyl. We're truly sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I'd like the opportunity to resolve this issue for you. Can I contact you directly?

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Deceiving

    • East Coast, United States,
    • Nov 3, 2015

    I was told by my doctor that Counsyl would contact me with a quote before processing my lab work, and that even if insurance didn't cover it, it would max out at $349. I got an email saying that they had already begun to process my lab work and that the total cost is $1500. When I called, Danica told me that they check online to see if your insurance is in network. If it is, the price drops to $564 but that they don't look into whether or not your benefits cover the cost, that it is up to the customer. Or you could opt to pay $349. I'm glad that I made the extra phone calls to my insurance company because it ended up being covered in full. Reading the reviews on this company, I see that other families have had the same deceiving price quotes.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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