The Victor Center
Genetic Testing and Counseling
The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Nicklaus Children's Hospital 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 preventable Jewish genetic diseases.
The Nicklaus Children's Hospital 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 Nicklaus Children's Hospital is an extension of that goal and will enable families of Jewish descent to get the genetic testing and counseling they need to understand their genetic risks.
Can I be healthy and be a carrier for at least one of the 19+ Jewish genetic diseases?
A carrier is a completely healthy person. There are only 2 ways to know you are a carrier, either by genetic screening or by having an affected child.
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. The Victor Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital currently screens for the most common Preventable Jewish genetic diseases.
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.
What are the chances that I am a carrier for a genetic disease?
One in two Askenazi Jews is a carrier for at least one of these 19+ genetic diseases.
What kind of genetic screening should I do?
Advances in genetic technology have led to significant changes in genetic screening and screening panels. Ethnic background and insurance coverage may have a bearing on your screening options. The genetics professionals of the Victor Center can provide you with the information you need to make health decisions for you and your family’s future.
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.
Genetic screening cost
Many insurance providers cover preconception screening although coverage and costs to you can vary depending on your plan and the screening panel you select (e.g., your lab, deductible and co-insurance requirements). Check with your insurance provider 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.