The first aim of the paper is to review research into the uptake of carrier testing for cystic fibrosis and into the impact of carrier testing on self-esteem, risk perception and reproductive decisions. The second aim is to connect the most important findings to psychological theories and concepts. Thirdly, we infer practical suggestions for genetic counselling. The uptake of genetic testing for CF could be explained by at least three (complementary) interrelated psychological concepts: the (lack of) genetic information, the individual's health beliefs and the concept of coping with a health threat. Cognitive and/or emotional coping mechanisms played also an important role in preserving self-esteem after a positive carrier test and in the subjective evaluation of the residual risk after a negative test result. Suggestions are given regarding genetic counselling in general and regarding free informed decision making.