Irish Donors: Fairfax Cryobank screens for Tay Sachs Disease

March 14, 2011

Blog written by Suzanne Seitz, MS Genetic Counselor

If you have heard about Tay Sachs disease, you probably consider it something that those of Jewish ancestry should worry about. Turns out that those who are Jewish are not the only ones who should be screened. Tay Sachs is a fatal neurological disease where children die young. It occurs only when both biological parents are carriers. Carriers are healthy individuals. Recent data shows that not only are those of Jewish, Cajun and French Canadian ancestry at increased risk, but so are those of Irish descent. The chance of being a carrier for someone who is Jewish is 1/30; for those who are Irish the risk is 1/44 and for the general population not at increased risk it is 1/280. Consequently, testing Irish donors at Fairfax Cryobank is something we consider important and we think you should too.

Fairfax Cryobank tests ALL donors of Irish descent, as well as those of Jewish, Cajun and French Canadian ancestry, for Tay Sachs. And since Irish ancestry is common, we have 68 donors who have screened negative for Tay Sachs on our donor list. Every medical profile has this testing information listed in the Donor Genetic History section. That’s an added level of reassurance that only Fairfax Cryobank can provide.

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