Resources for Genetic Screening
Currently there are several ways to obtain screening – your doctor’s office (usually OB/GYN), Hospital based Medical Genetics Programs or online genetics education, counseling and screening programs.
Regardless of where you choose to be screened, please be aware that there are many laboratories doing Ashkenazi Jewish genetic disease screening with panels varying from 19-38 diseases. Individuals may also opt to do expanded carrier screening to include disorders not necessarily more common in the Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Pan Ethnic Panels). It is important to note that regardless of the panel chosen, Tay-Sachs enzyme analysis, using blood, must be done in addition to DNA analysis, which can be done via blood or saliva.
Physician’s Offices: Most physicians are able to draw blood for the Jewish genetic disease tests in their office and send it to a laboratory for analysis. The best place to start for most people who wish to get tested is their regular doctor, most often the woman’s OB/GYN. Some physicians have genetic counselors in their practices; others will have genetic counselors to whom they will refer patients who have a positive test result.
Make sure to tell the doctor that you are of Jewish heritage and be as specific as possible about the geographic area(s) your family comes from. You may want to download the JGDC’s list of genetic diseases and bring it with you to your appointment. If you have ever been screened in the past, bring your report with you to your appointment.
Insurance Coverage: Many insurance plans cover testing for Jewish genetic diseases. The physician or genetic laboratory can determine coverage on an individual basis before the test is done. Patients who do not have coverage for testing may be eligible for a reduced-price test. The JGDC also has some resources for couples who are not otherwise able to afford screening. E-mail info@JewishGeneticDiseases.org or call 855.642.6900.
Sephardic/Mizrahi Diseases: As Jew of Ashkenazi background make up the predominance of the U.S. Jewish population, doctors and genetics programs may be more familial with the Ashkenazi Jewish genetic diseases than the Sephardic/Mizrahi Jewish genetic diseases. If you are of Sephardic/Mizrahi background, you may want to look for a program which specializes in these diseases.
Hospital-Based Genetics Programs: Many hospitals around the country, especially in larger metropolitan areas, have medical genetics departments and offer genetic testing and counseling. A person who has a known family history of genetic diseases, has had a positive test result in the past, is already pregnant or has had a child with an inherited genetic disease may wish to go directly to one of these hospital programs.
NY Metro Area Hospital-Based Genetics Programs
Hackensack University Medical Center
UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School
St. Peter’s University Hospital
St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center
Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine
New York Methodist Hospital
North Shore LIJ
Mount Sinai Medical Center
NYU Medical Center
Beth Israel Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center
Weill Cornell Physicans
Westchester Medical Center
Community and Non-Profit Screening Programs: There are several community and non-profit organizations which offer education and screening, often at a special price. These programs may have eligibility limitations and may not screen for all diseases.
Commercial Laboratories: There are major national commercial laboratories which do genetic screening. Tests must be ordered by a physician with an account with the lab.
IMPORTANT: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE OR GENETIC COUNSELING The information in this brochure is for informational purposes only. It is intended to give the reader a broad overview of the genetic disease screening process and the Jewish genetic diseases for which screening currently is available. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or genetic counseling. Your physician or other qualified health care provider can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your personal situation and the Jewish genetic disease screening process. The Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium assumes no liability or responsibility for any opinions, advice, procedures, or results provided by any independent individual or entity with respect to Jewish genetic disease screening Genetic science is a rapidly developing field. The information in this website is subject to update and screening options may change.