Dor Yeshorim was built on the premise that recessive genetic disorders, prevalent in Jewish circles, have absolutely no reason to be perpetuated. In fact, as evidenced by the elimination of Tay Sachs, our goal is to eradicate fatal and debilitating recessive genetic disease from the Jewish community through premarital genetic screening, genetic research and the development of reliable testing methods.
We believe that Jewish boys and girls of all backgrounds should be given the opportunity to be tested prior to reaching marriageable age. This rite of passage has become the accepted and even anticipated norm in hundreds of schools around the world.
We believe, and the system’s resounding global success supports, that in keeping all testing results confidential we eliminate any potential stigmatization of individuals and families. Furthermore, statistics show that the knowledge that one is carrying a deleterious gene can be psychologically difficult. In the case of genetic carrier status, the freedom to not know can be more liberating than the right to know.
We believe that every prospective marriage match deserves the peace of mind to move forward secure in the knowledge that their future children will not suffer from the tested genetic diseases.
We believe in solving problems, not creating new ones. For that reason, we painstakingly examine the ramifications of each disease and, based on the genetic findings of our expert researchers and scientists, and in conjunction with rabbinical council, screen only for those diseases which fit the criteria and serve the needs of communities worldwide.
The life altering success of the Dor Yeshorim program is due to the absolute confidentiality inherent within the system. Everyone wants the very best for their children’s future. If Dor Yeshorim was to disclose testing results, those who are not carriers would certainly feel relief. But what about the boys and girls who turn out to be carrying a genetic disease? What does one do with that knowledge? Announce to the public “I am a carrier”?? Share the information with the shadchan and jeopardize shidduchim before they even begin?
Even the most highly educated individuals have difficulty using intellect to dominate the emotions of knowing that he or she, or a potential mate carries a genetic disease. To avoid any stigmatization, and based on the dictates of numerous Torah luminaries, Dor Yeshorim’s infrastructure was therefore created with inherent confidentiality. This is no way negates the intelligence of the general public or their ability to comprehend and assess results.
Rather, it avoids a culture of negativity at a time when young men and women seek to find the positive in themselves and their potential life partner.
Dor Yeshorim’s Testing Policy:
Our policy is to test only for common, incurable recessive diseases which present serious health issues or risk of fatality and for which there exists reliable testing methods with definitive carrier status results. These policies, along with our strict confidentiality rule, is what sets us apart from all other genetic screening services. The 16 diseases on the Ashkenazic standard and optional panels as well as the 16 diseases on the Sephardic panel all meet these criteria.
While other screening services may seem more inclusive with a long list of diseases, as per worldwide genetic experts, more is indeed less. The simple explanation is that for many genetic mutations, the manifestation of the actual disease and the symptoms associated with it, are not clear-cut. In addition, based on research in which Dor Yeshorim has, and continues to play an integral role, unless a test can be deemed reliable and carrier status confirmed, subjecting the population to disclosed carrier status that is ambiguous at best, is contrary to our mission to help make matches, not break them. The tests we do conduct have been determined to be in our community’s best interests.
The mere existence of a genetic disease should not result in its inclusion within a testing panel. The lack of scientific data to provide definitive answers as to carrier status, results in moral, ethical and potential medical dilemmas to which there are no easy answers. What is one to do with an inconclusive carrier status?
Dor Yeshorim is determined to find answers and reliable testing methods for as many recessive genetic diseases as possible. To that end, we utilize our extensive database as well as our more than three decades of experience serving the Jewish community. It is why we spend millions of dollars annually to conduct extensive research, in collaboration with other industry experts, to unravel the genetic mysteries involved.
See below policy and guidelines on Premarital Genetic Screening from the American College of Medical Genetics and others.