Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - For many, the decision to have a child may very well be the biggest and most fulfilling decision they will make. And after the decision is made to start a family, future parents often discover that planning for the baby’s future can be a daunting task. Which car seat will they use? How will they babyproof the house? Which schools will the child attend?

Regardless of all these questions, one hope in particular resonates in the minds of most future parents: that their child will be happy and healthy.

And, until recently, the genetic screening options available to help ensure a child’s health have been limited, cumbersome, inconvenient and sometimes costly. Now a new program has been created that can change that.

The First Of Its Kind

Based out of Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics, the genetic screening program called JScreen is the first of its kind. It can be used to test for over 80 different genetic conditions with an at-home saliva test. This can help parents-to-be know if they are carriers for genetic conditions such as Tay-Sachs disease, spinal muscular atrophy and cystic fibrosis.

It’s estimated that 80 percent of children with a serious genetic disease are born to parents with no known family history for the disease, making JScreen a powerful prevention tool.

While parents once had to navigate a confusing process for genetic testing that sometimes only screened for a handful of conditions, future moms and dads can now request their JScreen test kits online at www.jscreen.org. JScreen works with their doctor to order the appropriate test, and typically, no doctor’s visit is needed. After the kit is shipped to an individual’s home, he or she deposits a saliva sample in the included tube and sends it back using the prepaid shipping package. In a matter of weeks, the person being tested will be contacted by a licensed genetic counselor from Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics to discuss the results.

The Gift Of Knowledge

Also, for the first time, by using a gift card, friends and family members can purchase the gift of genetic screening for their loved ones at www.jscreen.org/gift.

“We’ve already seen great success with the gift card program, particularly among family members of newlyweds and people whose loved ones are nearing the age when they might begin trying to start a family,” said Karen Grinzaid, Senior Program Director for JScreen. “It’s a unique gift—one that I think tells the recipients that you care about them and you care about their future. It’s really quite thoughtful.”

With the development of an affordable genetic screening option available from the comfort of one’s own home, many believe JScreen marks a significant advancement in the fight against genetic diseases.

To learn more, visit www.jscreen.org.