The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at MCH provides access to comprehensive genetic education, genetic counseling services and affordable genetic screenings for individuals in South Florida at risk of being carriers of a gene mutation for at least one of the 19 Jewish genetic diseases.
The MCH Brain Institute
has long been a leader in providing care for children with genetic disorders and their families through its Neurogenetic-Metabolic Program. The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at MCH is an extension of that goal and will enable families of Jewish descent get the genetic testing and counseling they need to understand their genetic risks.
What is a Genetic Screening?
Genetic screening is a process in which, through a simple blood test, a person’s genes are examined for changes, called mutations, in specific genes. Genetic screening is used to determine whether an individual or couple is at increased risk to have a baby with a hereditary disorder by passing on a gene mutation to their offspring.
Who Should Consider Genetic Screening?
Carriers of the gene are healthy individuals. Being a carrier does not mean they have a genetic disease. Being a carrier does mean that either parent can pass the gene mutation onto their children, making it important to screen both prospective parents.
Individuals who fall into one or more of the following categories should consider genetic testing:
- Anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent, ancestors in the Ashkenazi Jewish population,
- Anyone whose ancestors are from Central Eastern Europe (i.e. Poland, Russia, Germany, Lithuania, etc.)
- Young adults 18 and over should be screened before becoming pregnant and be screened again if genetic testing for new diseases becomes available.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of a gene mutation for at least one of the 19 Jewish genetic diseases for which the Victor Center at MCH currently screens. (Link to child page with 19 genetic diseases)
Where can I get screened?
The Victor Center provides full service genetic counseling and screening to all interested individuals and couples, through the hospital’s main campus as well as through community screenings.
For a list of upcoming genetic screening dates and locations, click here
If you have insurance that covers genetic testing, you may have a very little out-of-pocket cost for as low as $25 to screen for all 19 genetic diseases. Check directly with your insurance company about preconception genetic testing coverage or contact the Victor Center for more information.
Genetic counseling helps individuals, couples or families understand genetic information such as occurrence, or the risk of occurrence, of a genetic disorder in a family. Genetic counselors help individuals make informed decisions about family planning.
If both are found to be carriers for the same disease, there are many reproductive options available. Genetic counseling is recommended as an integral part of this process.
About the National Victor Center
The Victor Center for the prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases offers genetic counseling and screenings for Jewish Genetic diseases. The organization works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy and the community to create awareness about the need to be screened for the 19 preventable genetic diseases with a 1 in 4 carrier rate in the Jewish population.
There are currently Victor Centers in Boston, Miami, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and community partnerships in Atlanta, Birmingham and Dallas.
The National Victor Center at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia was founded by Lois Victor, after she lost two daughters to a Jewish genetic disease.