Yoatzot News

Premarital genetic testing

In order to avoid the potentially devastating impact of genetic testing on a couple who are already engaged or married, it is best to perform carrier testing prior to engagement. Within the Jewish community, a system of premarital genetic testing for a number of conditions has been established. This project is called Dor Yesharim, The Committee for Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases (718-384-2332 in the U.S., or 972-2-537-2111 in Israel). Dor Yesharim currently performs carrier tests for Tay-Sachs, Canavan disease, Fanconis Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Familial dysautonomia, Glycogen storage disease (type 1), Bloom syndrome, Niemann-Pick disease, Mucolipidosis (type IV), and Gaucher's disease (only by request).

Individuals are tested before beginning the search for a marriage partner, but are not told the results of the test. A couple considering marriage notifies Dor Yesharim and is informed whether or not there is a problem. The couple is not told what disease they carry, just that the match is likely to lead to a child affected by one of these conditions.

As this system takes the halachic concerns into consideration, it has the approval of many leading halachic authorities. It is also subsidized. However, Dor Yesharim will only test people prior to an official engagement, and does not give specific test results. Therefore, some couples will choose to have the testing done privately.

If a couple has not been tested prior to marriage, they should consult with their rabbi about doing tests at a later point. There are grounds to permit testing at any stage if it could lead to an intervention that would be beneficial to the health of the fetus.

Organizations that provide genetic screening and counseling for Jewish genetic diseases in the United States include:

Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.

Information for your Health Care Provider


Click on the link(s) below for related articles from Jewish Women's Health, Nishmat's website for medical professionals. You may find it helpful to share this information with your physician by printing or emailing relevant articles,
or by accessing the site during your appointment.

  Prenatal Testing

Related Articles

  No Related Articles

Related Questions & Answers

  Discretion about trying to conceive
  Increasing chances for a girl
  Genetic testing for married couples
  Delaying mikveh to try for boy
  Nine boys, no girls
  Mikveh timing and gender
  Ovulating on Yom Kippur
  Ovulation test on Shabbat
  Pregnant without mikveh
  Temperature on shabbat
  Trying for a girl
  Fertile days
  Staining at ovulation
  Determining gender of baby
  Day of ovulation

© 2008 Nishmat - The Jerusalem Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women Developed by AlmondWeb
Northern Israel Eastern Israel Central Israel Jerusalem Area Coastal Area Southern Israel Haifa Area