Jewish Health

Nicole and Katy - Interview 11

Age at interview: 54

Brief outline: Two of Nicole's children have been screened for the Tay Sachs gene and are carriers. It's thought the gene was passed down through her husband's family, although Tay Sachs has never been discussed openly in her husband's family.

Background: Nicole works as a caterer and a nursery school teacher. She is married and has three children aged 21, 27 (Katy) and 28. Ethnic background/nationality: Jewish.

Audio & video

Nicole’s daughter Katy tested positively for carrying the Tay Sachs gene when she was pregnant with her first child, four years ago. Living in the United States, at the time, Katy’s husband was also tested and found not to be a carrier. The fact that he was not a carrier meant that Katy drew a line under the experience at the time and gave it little thought. She was not surprised to hear that she was a carrier because of her family history. Nicole took her middle daughter to be tested four years ago at a drop in screening in North London advertised in the Jewish Chronicle and she, too, is a carrier. Her son has not yet been tested.

Nicole describes how the gene must have passed through her husband’s family and while Tay Sachs was not discussed openly, she can remember knowing of two babies in the family who died very young. Both Katy and Nicole discuss how, with technological developments, screening for Tay Sachs is straightforward but Katy is not sure what would happen if any of her children turned out to carry the gene and were in a relationship with another carrier. 


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email