Nashville Fertility

Preconception Carrier Screening

People from many ethnic backgrounds benefit from preconception carrier screening

preconception-carrier-screening-blogCertain genetic disorders are related to a person’s ethnicity, such as Tay-Sachs disease, which is more commonly found in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. However, we live in a global society and our DNA will likely reflect a diverse racial and ethnic background.

A type of genetic screening known as preconception carrier screening is available to help parents-to-be—regardless of race and ethnicity—determine whether or not their baby is at risk for inheritable disorders. Our Tennessee fertility center staff can recommend testing and connect you with a genetic counselor to help you better understand your risk factors and options.

There are three ethnic groups that particularly benefit from preconception carrier screening:

  1. Ashkenazi Jewish, or Eastern European Jewish descendants

    Tay-Sachs disease is most often found in this population. People with this ethnic background are also at higher risk for Canavan disease, cystic fibrosis and familial dysautonomia.

  2. Those with African, Mediterranean and Southeast Asian ethnicity

    Preconception carrier screening for African Americans is important because this population has the highest risk for passing on sickle cell disease. Those with African, Mediterranean and Southeast Asian backgrounds are also at higher risk for thalassemia.

  3. Non-Hispanic Caucasians

    Cystic fibrosis (CF) occurs more often in this ethnic group. Your ethnicity, along with your family history, contributes to your risk factors for this genetic disorder. More than 10 million Americans are carriers of the CF gene.

Preconception carrier screening can also detect Niemann-Pick disease type A, Bloom syndrome, Gaucher disease, Fanconi anemia and other genetic disorders.

In addition to your ethnicity, factors you should consider when deciding whether or not preconception carrier screening is right for you include your age and medical and family history.

Both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Medical Genetics recommend offering this screening to all couples.

Preconception carrier screening is a fast, simple test

If you do decide to pursue preconception carrier screening, all you have to do is submit a blood or saliva sample at our Tennessee fertility center, and we will send it to a reference lab for testing.

Once you receive the results, which will determine whether or not you and your partner are carriers of the genes for particular genetic disorders, you can pursue further genetic screening at our Tennessee fertility center to improve your chances of having a healthy baby. Contact us today to learn more.


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