Being a carrier for recessive genetic conditions has no visible effects on the carrier, and can remain hidden for many generations. All individuals, regardless of ethnicity, are at risk of being carriers of genetic mutations which can cause serious disease. One example of this is Tay Sachs disease in the Jewish community.
There are only two ways to find out if you are a carrier for conditions like Tay Sachs disease:
- Have a baby diagnosed with this devastating, incurable disease
- Have genetic carrier screening before planning a pregnancy
Screening in Jewish communities has been a huge success worldwide, leading to dramatic decrease in the incidence of this terrible disease. BUT, this will only remain the case, if the community continues to have genetic screening now, and in the generations to come. Click here for an interesting article about the history of Tay Sachs screening and how the Jews almost wiped-out the disease completely.
Until recently, all year 11 high school students were offered free screening in the large Jewish day schools in Melbourne. This aimed to educate and test a majority of the young Jewish population at once, to help identify carriers in advance and enable genetic counselling and testing of their partners when they were planning their own families. Whilst education in schools is still provided, the onus now lies on the population to organise their own screening, preferably before pregnancy.
Having screening and identifying carrier couples is the only way to prevent a couple having a baby with these conditions, as knowing in advance enables reproductive options for the couple to avoid passing down their genetic mutations.
Genetic Clinics Australia, now open on Glen Eira Road in Caulfield, is dedicated to assisting the community to continue to be screened for Tay Sachs and other serious genetic conditions. Our staff are highly experienced in genetic counselling, and can offer a range of tests for individuals and couples to choose to suite their needs.This type of genetic testing is not yet offered to all couples planning a pregnancy – and we think it should be!
All couples, regardless of ethnicity, deserve the right to have the facts about this important topic, and make their own decision about whether they wish to pursue genetic carrier screening or not.
Knowledge about your carrier status before pregnancy (preconception) gives you the power to make choices that are right for your family.
Contact us for more information about how you can access preconception genetic carrier screening and ensure we can keep this terrible disease from returning to our community. No referral is needed for the genetic counselling and genetic testing services we provide and some Medicare rebates apply.
Contact us now for an appointment or to find out more about how we can help you achieve your dreams of a healthy future family.
What is Preconception Carrier Screening?
What is Genetic Testing?