The landscape of Jewish carrier screening has changed dramatically in the last few years. Where testing used to cost thousands of dollars for only a handful of diseases, the technology has improved, and now, testing for more diseases at once has become much more affordable. Additionally, insurance coverage for carrier screening has become more mainstream, avoiding large costs to patients and to philanthropic donors.
There are different options for where to get tested. Listed are brief descriptions of each:
There are many genetics offices in the New York metropolitan area. If you decide to get tested at a genetics office, you will make an appointment with a genetic counselor and she/he will help you decide which testing panel is most appropriate for you. The genetic counselor also might recommend additional testing if your personal or family history warrants it.
***Most genetics offices bill your insurance for the office visit, and many will require that you get a referral from your doctor. In the course of making your appointment, you may want to call your insurance provider before your visit to see if you have coverage for genetic counseling. In addition, the genetics provider should speak with you about the separate testing costs and whether this will be covered by your insurance.***
When you call to make an appointment, specify that you would like one for Preconception Jewish Carrier Screening.
In the New York metropolitan area, some local genetics offices include:
- Montefiore Division of Reproductive and Genetic Medicine: 718-405-8150
- Mount Sinai Center for Jewish Genetic Diseases: 212-241-6947
- New York University Jewish Genetics Program: 212-263-5746
- Weill Cornell Division of Medical Genetics: 646-962-2205
- New York Presbyterian (Columbia) Division of Clinical Genetics: 212-305-6731
- Hackensack University Medical Center Genetics Services: 551-996-5933
- North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center Medical Genetics: 516-365-3996
Beyond the NYC area: You can also find a genetic counselor anywhere in the US and Canada by visiting http://www.nsgc.org/ and clicking on the “Find a Genetic Counselor” tool. Make sure to search under the ‘prenatal’ in ‘types of specialization’.
There are several community organizations which offer education and screening, sometimes at a subsidized price. Some of these organizations host screening events and some will connect you to a local genetic counselor. These community screening programs include:
- The Center for Jewish Genetics, Screening in the greater Chicago area
- Jewish Genetic Disease Center of Greater Phoenix, Screening in the greater Phoenix area
- Victor Centers for Jewish Genetic Diseases, Screening in Philadelphia and Miami
- JScreen, at-home genetic testing kits, an Emory University initiative
- Dor Yeshorim, a confidential matching service with regards to “genetic compatibility”
Many OBGYNs and some other physicians will be able to order your carrier screening. **While this may be convenient for you, please note that not all providers are well-versed in carrier testing options and not all have access to the most up-to-date testing panels, or clarity on issues related to cost and billing.