Genetic conditions: The 5 key myths and facts


1. Myth
I have no family history of a genetic condition so there is no need to be screened.

Most children with recessive genetic disorders are born to families with no known history or condition. Screening is important as future generations can still be at risk.

2. Myth
Both parents of an individual have to be Ashkenazi Jewish for screening to be relevant.

Screening is recommended for anyone who has at least one Ashkenazi Jewish grandparent.

3. Myth
We already have two healthy children so there is no way we can be carriers and don't need to bother getting screened.

For carrier couples, with each pregnancy there is a one-in-four chance of their child being born with a genetic disorder. As such, it is not uncommon for these couples to have one or more healthy children before having an affected child.

4. Myth
I have had Tay-Sachs screening and I am not a carrier so I don't need to be screened again.

Whether you are a Tay-Sachs carrier or not has no bearing on your risk for being a carrier for the other Jewish genetic disorders. Screening for these disorders will identify if you are at risk for these other conditions that disproportionately affect Jewish people.

5. Myth
My sibling was screened and she was not a carrier. There is no need for me to be screened.

Even if your sibling screens negative, there is still a chance you may be a carrier for a genetic disorder. We only share 50 per cent of our genes with our siblings.

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