Most of the time, pregnancy goes the way it should: the mother is healthy, the fetus grows normally and the childbirth is a happy and trouble-free event. Sometimes, however, situations can arise that require special attention. Virginia Women’s Center’s maternal-fetal medicine specialists and genetic counselor are in place to help patients navigate those times.

Genetics is the branch of science that deals with how traits are passed from parent to child through genes. Having genetic tests performed during pregnancy is a personal choice. Some couples choose not to be tested for birth defects. Others find that testing and counseling can help them better plan for the future. The genetics field is expanding exponentially, so new developments—often complex—come to light every day.

Laurie Tams is a licensed genetic counselor. Her role is to work with mothers and couples in explaining the array of prenatal testing options and helping interpret test results. She works closely with our maternal-fetal medicine specialists and obstetricians. Laurie is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the Virginia Association of Genetic Counselors.

Laurie received a bachelor of arts summa cum laude in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Richmond. She went on to Virginia Commonwealth University to perform three years of post-baccalaureate work and associated laboratories in human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics.

Laurie has worked as a genetic counselor since 1987. During that time, she has also instructed graduate-level students enrolled in the genetic counseling program at VCU. Prior to her work as a genetic counselor, she was a unit assistant on the labor and delivery floor at Medical College of Virginia. And in the 1980s, she worked in a variety of jobs with special-needs children: as student teacher for Canterbury Community Nursery, a hospital intern with Children’s Hospital and camp counselor for United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware.

Laurie and her husband have three children: college-age twins and a preteen. The family shares its home with two cats, a hermit crab, a betta fish and a black bear hamster. In school, Laurie was named “best woman scholar-athlete” and still enjoys long-distance running, as well as music, dancing and baking.

Board Certification(s)

  • Licensed Genetic Counselor


Undergraduate School

University of Richmond
B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies-Summa Cum Laude
Richmond, Virginia

Professional Associations

National Society of Genetic Counselors

Virginia Association of Genetic Counselors

Academic Appointments

Virginia Commonwealth University
Genetic Counseling Program
Graduate-level Instructor