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Who Should Be Screened for Genetic Disorders? ACOG Releases Revised Statements

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Did you know that 1 in 4 Ashkenazi Jews carries at least one "Jewish" genetic disorder? That’s why carrier screening is an important part of family planning for Jewish and interfaith couples. The Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics provides an affordable and accessible screening program for:

  • People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (at least one Jewish parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent)
  • Sephardic Jews and their partners, who may consider expanded genetic screening
  • Non-Jewish partners, since none of the disorders are exclusive to the Jewish population

Now, screening guidelines are expanding beyond ethnicity. Because many people are of mixed or unknown ancestry, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends carrier screening for all women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy.

According to the newly released ACOG guidelines, all women should be screened for spinal muscular atrophy, cystic fibrosis, and certain inherited blood disorders. Women with unexplained ovarian insufficiency and/or family history of fragile X-related disorders should also be screened for fragile X syndrome. Our carrier screening panel meets – and exceeds – the ACOG guidelines. It tests for the conditions recommended by the ACOG, as well as additional panethnic and Jewish genetic disorders. Our comprehensive program is designed to help Jewish and interfaith couples identify their genetic risks so they can plan for a healthy future. Learn more about the conditions on our panel.      

Ideally, screening should take place prior to pregnancy. Couples who know their carrier status beforehand have the most options, and carrier couples build healthy families every day!

If you are a carrier, the ACOG suggests informing other family members of the genetic risk, as well as the availability of carrier screening.

Read the full ACOG Committee Opinion Summary:


Affordable, Accessible Genetic Screening in Illinois

Our affordable, accessible carrier screening program uses advanced technology to provide comprehensive screening for Jewish and interfaith couples. Visit our Get Screened page to learn more and register.


Planning for a Family?

1 in 4 Jews carries a potentially devastating genetic disorder that could pass down to a child. Make carrier screening part of your family planning process. 


Do You Know What's In Your Genes?

What is the most valuable gift you can give to your family? The gift of good health! There are many health conditions that run in families. Knowing your family health history can alert you to the potential risk for a variety of genetic disorders . Talk to your relatives for warning signs and assess your risk for hereditary cancers.

Did you know: Ashkenazi Jews are 10 TIMES more likely to have BRCA mutations, which significantly increases lifetime risks for hereditary cancers, so what does this heightened risk mean for you? Click here to learn more .