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Health & Baby

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Tay-Sachs Test

What Affects the Test

If you had a recent blood transfusion, you may not be able to have the test, or the test results may not be helpful. If you have a blood transfusion from a blood donor who has normal levels of hexosaminidase A, your level may temporarily be higher than usual.

What To Think About

  • A positive Tay-Sachs test may need to be confirmed with other genetic tests. To learn more, see the topic Genetic Test.
  • People who have a high chance of being a carrier of Tay-Sachs may want to have a blood test before they have children, to see whether they are carriers. People of Ashkenazi Jewish, French-Canadian, or Cajun descent, or those who have a family history of Tay-Sachs disease or who live in a community or population with a high amount of Tay-Sachs disease may want to be tested. Genetic counseling is available for people who have the disease or are carriers.
  • Before you have testing for a genetic disease such as Tay-Sachs disease, you may want to learn about possible ethical, legal, and religious issues of genetic testing.


  1. Fischbach F, Dunning MB III (2015). A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Other Works Consulted

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerSiobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics

Current as ofAugust 7, 2014

1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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