The Human Genome Project is an international effort to discern the complete genetic makeup of human beings. The isolation and characterization of genes will offer tremendous opportunities for disease detection, diagnosis, screening, prevention, and counseling. Advances in genetic research are occurring simultaneously with the development of new techniques for prenatal genetic testing. Use of gene therapy in humans likely will lag behind our ability to detect genetic disorders. Consequently, obstetricians will be forced to face some difficult medical, ethical, and social challenges. The possibility of a national cystic fibrosis screening program is an example of the complex problems we will face as new genes are described. The obstetric community needs to participate actively in the debate surrounding the ethical and legal implications of the Human Genome Project. We need to establish clinical standards and use our professional organization to act as a resource for clinicians, the public, and legislatures. Because of the increased requirement for genetic counseling, we recommend an expansion of genetics training for residents and clinicians and the development of computer-based interactive video programs for genetic counseling.