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To ask if a non-fatal possible genetic condition would put you off having children?

(136 Posts)
willowriver Sun 25-Jan-15 19:50:07


Here is my situation, I have a sibling who has a mental health disorder which seems to run in the family. I have seen the horrendous impact it has had on his life.

I have to admit having a child and possibly passing this condition on scares me a great deal.

AIBU to seriously consider not having a child for this reason ?

nottheOP Sun 25-Jan-15 19:52:55

Yanbu. It is obviously a concern. Are there odds that you're working with?

Is your brother's quality of life good?
The same for your parents. ..

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 25-Jan-15 19:54:37

It would depend what it is. I have CP which is not genetic, it can happen to anyone. I have a wonderful life though

Jackieharris Sun 25-Jan-15 19:55:37

There's a huge difference between 'seems to run in the family' and an actual genetic condition which tbh I think is quite insensitive of you.

Everyone's probably got something in their family that could be passed on which may or not impact on a future child's life whether that be mental health problems, obesity, diabetes, glaucoma, allergies, BRAC2, the cf gene, sickle cell, rh negative blood, there are so many. No one would have DCs at all if everyone with some condition in their family stopped having DCs.

So yabu

Micah Sun 25-Jan-15 19:58:16

I would suggest you ask your gp for a referral to a genetic counsellor and get a proper picture of the inheritance of this condition, whether it is truly genetic, and if so, what is the risk to any children you might have.

Then make your decision.

SpottyTeacakes Sun 25-Jan-15 19:58:57

I have a genetic progressive disease with a 50/50 chance of passing it on. Both my dc have it and I wouldn't be without them. Yes, I worry about them probably more than is normal and I carry a lot of guilt, still want another dc though grin

Tinkerball Sun 25-Jan-15 19:59:14

Is it bipolar? There are complex links between mental health, genetics and environment and nothing is set in stone. Even if you are pre-disposed to something it does not necessarily mean you will develop it.

willowriver Sun 25-Jan-15 20:03:14

Jackie, I deliberately avoided mentioning what it was so as not to cause offence ( although it is not bipolar.)

Fortunately, we all have control over our own decisions and saying I myself am hesitating to do something does not mean that I would recommend someone else didn't.

I do not feel that a genetic counsellor would provide any answers unfortunately; it is a link that may seem tenuous but has been consistent across three generations. The only survivor is my brother who has a poor quality of life to a large extent and is very reliant on me.

ILovePud Sun 25-Jan-15 20:03:55

What Tinkerball said, MH is complex it's not a case of you have a certain gene you will have that disorder.

Timetoask Sun 25-Jan-15 20:10:53

I am not in your position, we don't have any genetic conditions in either of our families (DH and mine), however we have a son with special needs (non genetic condition).
He will need our support forever, I worry about him. If I had a genetic condition in my family that has been passed on three generations I think I would probably choose not to have children.

willowriver Sun 25-Jan-15 20:13:38

Time, yes. The worry about a child - given there is little support around me - puts me off.

Which breaks my heart in a way but I also think it's perhaps the most sensible thing in the circumstances.

crochetsavesmysanity Sun 25-Jan-15 20:17:03

What a difficult decision for you OP- my heart goes out to you.

DD1 has a condition which has a strong genetic link. DD2 was born before we knew about her sister's condition.
Sadly, it was the reason why we didn't have a third child. We knew our limitations and also could not be sure how severely another child would be affected.
That said, Dd1 is amazing and we would do everything the same again.

I hope you find a way forward.

SaucyJack Sun 25-Jan-15 20:17:37

Wouldn't put me off. Myself, my aunt and a cousin have all been diagnosed with the same MH condition and I strongly suspect my mum has it too- or another PD at the very least.

It's looking to me as tho DD1 will have it too. The crap bits are crap, but not that crap. It can also be a blessing as well as a curse.

Sistedtwister Sun 25-Jan-15 20:18:26

I have a genetic condition that affects quality of life. (Physically not MH)

It didn't put me off having children. I know DM feels incredible guilt for passing it on, but I've got a great life and she didn't know she had it when she had my DB and I. DB isn't as badly affected as I am and I started with it earlier than DM and worse but I wouldn't choose to have never been born despite the pain.

My DD is currently showing no signs ( there is no test) and I hope she won't have it the odds are she won't. The condition is passed on 75% of the time but is very rare in People of African descent. DH is 1/2 Nigerian. So hopefully that will swing the balance. But it isn't life threatening, if she has it it isn't the end of the world and treatment is improving all of the time.

weebarra Sun 25-Jan-15 20:19:12

I'm very glad that I discovered I had the BRCA2 gene after I had children, it meant I didn't have difficult decisions to make. Obviously I will tell them when they are older so that they can be tested.
DS1 has an unconnected genetic condition which he has a 1:2 chance of passing on to any future child. It will be hard for him to make decision.

Babiecakes11 Sun 25-Jan-15 20:23:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

willowriver Sun 25-Jan-15 20:25:53

Unfortunately like autism it can't. It's guess work in a way but (this will probably sound awful) having lived with my brother for nearly forty years I just can't imagine having a child with his condition. To his face I am lovely and supportive but inside me my well of sympathy has run dry.

JenniferGovernment Sun 25-Jan-15 20:26:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Babiecakes11 Sun 25-Jan-15 20:27:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mineofuselessinformation Sun 25-Jan-15 20:31:00

One of my dcs has a genetic condition. There is a test, but having asked over several years and being told it's for research only, I gave up asking....
My dc does have a good life, but I so wish they didn't have the condition. sad
As it goes, we now know my other dc carries the gene due to her seeing an expert in a field (I don't really want to go into details) who saw that they have clear markers - so both my dcs face having to make choices about having babies.... - and both knowing that in the right circumstances they can pass it on.
Sorry, that's very long!
But yes, in a nutshell, if there is a test, it should be done if the person wishes.

weebarra Sun 25-Jan-15 20:31:36

Babiecakes - I only discovered it when I was diagnosed with BC at the age of 37. Since then, we've discovered my dad and my younger sister have it.

WannaBe Sun 25-Jan-15 20:32:42

there is no right or wrong answer, because every condition is different, and every person is different.

My xh has a genetic condition which results in visual impairment. Virtually his whole family has it, added to that, his mum has a different genetic condition, although neither of her children have inherited that one, only the one from his dad.

As someone who is myself VI, I knew that if I had a baby with VI I would be best placed to deal with it. but I still weighed up the odds when I was deciding about whether to have children.

When ds was born he was tested, and found not to have inherited the condition. And I have to say that while being VI would not have been the end of the world or a serious disability, I am glad that he hadn't inherited a condition which meant he would be VI. HAd he inherited it I think I would have actually felt guilty because I would have had a child knowing that they might inherit the condition.

For me what mattered was the percentage. I had a 50/50 chance of having a baby with a genetic condition. therefore there was a 50% chance my baby wouldn't have inherited it. If the ods had been greater I think I would have re-evaluated, and if it had been a 100% chance I wouldn't have had children.

It's one thing to take a chance on your child inheriting a condition, quite another to knowingly inflict that condition on them. IMO.

I don't consider visual impairment to be a life-limiting or debilitating condition. I love my life. I am fully independent, but I do think that any kind of disability should be thought about if there is a chance of your child having it, and the implications of doing so.

Babiecakes11 Sun 25-Jan-15 20:33:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sun 25-Jan-15 20:34:26

No it didn't. Paranoid schizophrenic, bipolar, alcoholism and deafness run in my family.

My DS has partial hearing loss, but that's it so far.

sanityisamyth Sun 25-Jan-15 20:35:19

Get a GP referral to a genetic counsellor - they will do any appropriate tests and advise of any possible courses of action.

My friend is the senior GC for the south west and deals with a whole range of issues. It would put your Mind at rest. Good luck x

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