Genetic Testing for Jewish First-Time Parents

Many genetic diseases are preventable. As any first-time-parents know, the first step in preparing for a healthy pregnancy is planning before conception. This means understanding how your own genes may affect your little growing family. Jewish genetic diseases could pose a risk to your child’s health, but understanding your risk and your options can give you the best chances for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Medical professionals agree: the emerging consensus is that every Jewish adult should be offered genetic testing before a pregnancy.  

Even if your or your partner’s family has no known disease history, there are several reasons for genetic testing when you’re trying to have a baby. In fact, the majority of babies with genetic disease are born to parents with no known family history of that disease. Anyone can be a genetic disease carrier but the safest way to find out is to get tested. If you or your partner is identified as a carrier, our genetic counselors can help you navigate the risks for the best possible outcomes for your children.

Remember: the earlier you know your carrier status, the more options you have.

What genetic testing options do I have if my spouse and I are both Jewish?

If you and your partner are both Jewish, the JScreen Jewish screening panel is a good option for both of you. If necessary based on your results, we have a network of genetic counselors and will refer you to someone in your area for one-on-one counseling for help with family planning. If there is no one in your area, we may refer you to a genetic counselor who provides tele-counseling.

What if my spouse isn’t Jewish? What are our genetic testing options?

You should take the JScreen Jewish screening panel before trying to have a baby. If you are a carrier, the genetic counselor will recommend appropriate testing for your non-Jewish partner. If you or your partner is pregnant, we recommend that you both choose the JScreen expanded disease panel. The expanded panel is an 80+ disease panel, which includes the 19 diseases, as well as other diseases that are common in the general population.

I’m not Jewish but my partner is. How do we get tested?

If neither of you are pregnant, your partner should be screened first, either with the Jewish panel or with the expanded panel (which also includes the Jewish diseases). If your partner is a carrier, you should then be screened. Another option is for both of you to be screened at the same time by you both choosing the expanded panel.

To get tested with the JScreen Jewish screening panel now, click here to purchase your kit.