Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week Day 1: More than just Tay-Sachs

February 3, 2020

Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week
Day 1: More than just Tay-Sachs

Tay-Sachs is certainly the most well-known Jewish genetic disease, with 1 in 30 Ashkenazi Jews carrying the recessive gene for this condition. Did you know that JScreen also tests for hundreds of other diseases that can be devastating for families? Check out the comprehensive list of diseases covered by the JScreen test.

Knowledge is power! Having information through reproductive carrier screening prior to pregnancy is important for family planning.  

The Science

JScreen primarily tests for diseases inherited in a recessive pattern, meaning that a child can only have the condition if both parents carry a non-working gene for that condition. Typically, people who are carriers of recessive conditions do not have symptoms because they have only one non-working copy of the gene. 

If a couple carries the same disease gene, each pregnancy has a 25% chance of having a baby affected by that disease. The good news is that being proactive pays off! There are options to help carrier couples have a healthy baby, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) with pre-implantation genetic testing, and using a sperm or egg donor who is not a carrier for that disease. 

The Bottom Line

While all of this science can sound confusing, JScreen is led by medical professionals who provide specialized genetic counseling follow-up by phone or video-conferencing for people who are identified as carriers.  Just because one’s parents have been tested for Tay-Sachs, this next generation having children needs to update their screening to include the many additional diseases which have been added since screening for Tay-Sachs first began in the 1970s. JScreen helps you navigate any concerning information your test may bring to light to help you plan for your future, healthy family.  

Register for your screening kit at!


Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics, JScreen is a national non-profit offering at-home comprehensive and affordable genetic testing and counseling.

ReproGEN – determines risk for having a child with a genetic disease

CancerGEN – tests for genetic changes that increase risk for many types of cancer

If a person or couples’ risk is elevated, genetic counselors will privately address the results, options and resources to help plan for a healthy future.

JScreen believes that a combination of education, access to state-of-the-art testing technology, and personalized support by qualified medical professionals are key to preventing devastating genetic diseases.