By Hadas Kuznits
PENN VALLEY, Pa. (CBS) – Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Montgomery County will host a panel Sunday morning on Jewish Genetic testing, with screenings being held in the afternoon.
Adele Schnieder, medical director of the Victor Center for the prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Einstein Medical Center, says her organization screens for 19 diseases prevalent in the Ashkenazic Jewish population:
“The advantage to getting tested is that you go into a pregnancy, having reduced a risk for something that you know you can be tested for.”
She says knowledge allows folks to make decisions about their family planning prior to becoming pregnant:
“We know that one in four Ashkenazic Jews is a carrier for at least one of these diseases. A carrier is a healthy person so there are no outward signs for being a carrier and the only way to know if you are a carrier is to have a blood test or to have the unfortunate to happen where your child is sick.”
Those who test positive for the same diseases as their partners have the option of speaking further with a genetic counselor.