Jewish Genetic Diseases

This week’s Forward includes their annual guide to Jewish genetic diseases. With advances in technology and medicine, the number of diseases recommended for testing grows every year.

There are still states that require blood tests from both partners before granting marriage licenses. Additionally, for many years, rabbis have either recommended or required genetic testing from couples. The logic is couples should be prepared and know all of their options well before the decision to conceive.

But not enough rabbis makes this a requirement. I was fortunate enough to be married by a rabbi who did. My insurance covered nearly all of the costs, but more importantly my husband and I had peace of mind entering our lives as a Jewish couple together.

Some college campuses and organizations now provide free or reduced-cost testing.

This is an issue important to all Jews–Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Mizrachi or any variation. I encourage everyone, married or not, who hasn’t been tested to look into the issue.

For more information, you can visit the web site of the Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium or speak with your doctor.

Posted on August 23, 2007

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