The Jewish genetic diseases are a group of genetic disorders that occur in a higher frequency among Jews. There are specific disorders that affect the Jews of Eastern or Central European descent (Ashkenazi) than in the general population.  There are different genetic diseases that disproportionately affect Jews originating from North Africa and Mediterranean countries (Sephardi/Mizrahi). Many of these diseases are fatal or severely disabling in childhood or early adulthood.

The event consists of several components. The program starts with an orientation provided by our Medical Geneticist who describes the diseases, the patterns of inheritance, the risk of mutation inheritance and what the results mean. Then each participant meets with a genetic counselor to discuss his/her personal history and ask any questions he/she may have. (All information is totally confidential.) The next step is to have blood drawn by a professional phlebotomist from St. Joseph’s Hospital. This is followed by a great snack, and an opportunity to socialize with other screening participants. The entire program takes about 90 minutes and we usually have about 75 people in attendance.

The saliva tests are designed to uncover DNA mutations. In the case of Tay-Sachs Disease, one of the most serious Jewish genetic disorders, it is important also to do a biochemical enzyme essay. That assay requires a blood specimen for testing.

Our screenings take place at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus (JCC) in Scottsdale and are offered twice a year; in the fall and again in the spring. Check our Events page for exact dates and times.

Young adults (18 years or older) are encouraged to get tested before starting a family.  Women should be certain to be screened before becoming pregnant. Even if someone is not thinking of starting family yet, this is an easy opportunity to get screened NOW.

Since carriers are free of symptoms, it is necessary to have DNA carrier testing (genetic screening) to make that determination. The results show if you have an altered copy of a gene in your genetic make-up. There are really only two ways to know if you are a carrier of a genetic disease – the first is to get screened and the second is to have an affected child.

It takes 4 – 6 weeks to get the lab results back. Genetic counselors review all of the results.  If you have a positive test, a genetic counselor will call you and discuss the resources, options and information you need. Test results will be mailed to all participants.

The actual cost for carrier screening is in excess of $450. If you are screened by the Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix and have health insurance, the cost to you is FREE.  We encourage you to take advantage of this highly subsidized screening.  No health insurance? Please check out the screening fees posted on our website. (jewishgeneticsphx.org)

Our technology has advanced significantly that this is the first year (April 2016) that we can offer screening to both you and your Non-Jewish Partner or partner who is a Jew by Choice. We want to ensure that our entire Jewish Community is screened so that we can identify carrier couples.  (Non-Jews can also be carriers, but with lesser frequency.)

Yes.   A genetic counselor will speak privately with the couple about their options. Some options include: egg/sperm donation, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and prenatal diagnosis and adoption.

YES!! With knowledge of carrier state, these diseases can be prevented. However, screening for Jewish genetic diseases can provide you with the knowledge of your status, which will lower the risk to future generations.

Yes. This is because until 2012, the technology available was only testing for 9 diseases. Our current screening panel is over 100 diseases.

Yes. Call the Jewish Genetic Diseases Center at 480-668-3347 or email info@jewishgeneticsphx.org and we will arrange to have the results resent to you.

The Jewish Genetic Diseases Center offers a significant subsidy for every participant. However, if you do not have insurance and cannot afford the registration fee, we will work with you to ensure you get screened.

If you need additional financial help once you find out your results based upon your options, contact the Jewish Free Loan for an interest free loan. (www.jewishfreeloan.org)