What is your opinion on Ashkenazi Jews

Hereditary diseases: genetic test for descendants of the Jewish progenitor

Our son was born in a Manhattan hospital on February 22nd at exactly 6 p.m. At the circumcision ceremony on the eighth day after, we gave him the name “Yonatan”, in English “God gives”, because this little bunch of people with blue eyes and button noses really seems like a godsend to us, without any irony.

Since then my life has changed radically. I no longer know why I slept so much at night instead of doing something meaningful (changing diapers, taking a baby for a walk, singing lullabies, etc.), I am becoming increasingly inexplicable how I used to live without Yonatan and before all: why. Even so, there would have been circumstances in which we would have taken precautions that our Yonatan would not be born.

I'm not talking about the fact that we might have had him killed in the womb. My wife and I were of the same opinion without any discussion: we would only have the most necessary tests carried out. Just no amniocentesis. If my son had three chromosomes on his 21st chromosome, I would now love a baby with Down syndrome. But I took an important precaution: as soon as we had decided to add a member No. 3 to our nuclear family, I went to my doctor - a nice general practitioner with a practice right next to Central Park - and had myself examined with a standardized test , which is called "Ashkenazi Jewish Panel, NY".

No big deal: draw blood, send the red juice to a laboratory, a few days later the result was there. Then there was also an invoice in the mail; I think the fun cost me $ 1,000. It could have been $ 2,000. The whole thing is almost considered a routine examination. The only reason why it is not officially called routine has to do with disdainful Mammon: The American health insurance companies don't want to pay for it.

Genetic testing is routine among Ashkenazi Jews

I now have the test result on the table in front of me while I am writing. "Cystic Fibrosis, Canavan Disease, Gaucher Disease, Fanconi Anemia, Bloom Syndrome, Tay Sachs DNA, FAM Dysautonomia, Nieman Pick: negative for the mutations tested." What would we have done if it was one of those rare hereditary diseases that existed among Ashkenazi Jews occur particularly often, in the right column would have said: "positive for the mutations tested"? We would have used commercially available means to ensure that we did not have children and would have thought about adoption.

These genetic tests are nothing new, by the way. My wife - born in 1971, grew up strictly Orthodox in Brooklyn - remembers that even as a girl she was urged to have a blood test. First of all, it should be ruled out that she was a carrier of “Tay Sachs' disease”: a terrible, fortunately very rare disease that leads to progressive intellectual disability, blindness and ultimately death in children.