Two steps to take if you and your partner want children but have family histories of cystic fibrosis

Posted on: 23 March 2020

If both you and your partner have family histories of cystic fibrosis and you are now at a point where you'd like to start having children, you may be concerned about whether or not any children you end up having could develop this condition. If this is the case, here are the steps that you and your partner should take.

Undergo genetic screening for cystic fibrosis

Some couples who find themselves in this situation choose not to undergo genetic screening, instead choosing to proceed with their plans to conceive and merely hoping that their child does not end up developing the condition. However, it is much better to face this problem head-on and use a clinic's genetic screening services to determine whether you and your other half both carry the faulty gene that could cause this health issue in any biological children you have. 

Knowing whether or not you two are carriers of this gene before you conceive will do the following; firstly, it will empower you to make a well-thought-out decision, based on solid scientific information, as to whether or not it would be wise for you to have your own biological children.

For instance, if the clinic's results of the screening tests show that you are both carriers of this gene and you know, therefore, that there is a chance that any biological children you conceive could potentially have this condition, then you can prepare for this possible outcome by reading about how to care for infants with cystic fibrosis, joining support groups for parents who have children with this condition and, when you get pregnant, undergoing prenatal tests to determine if your unborn baby carries this gene. Alternatively, these results may lead you down the adoption route, if you feel that you and your partner might struggle to cope with the worries and healthcare-related expenses that could come with caring for a child who has cystic fibrosis.

Start doing some research into alternative methods of starting a family

If, as mentioned above, you are not convinced that you or your partner are emotionally or financially equipped to care for a child with cystic fibrosis and you will not, therefore, be trying to conceive if you are both carriers of the gene, then you might want to do some research into the other ways in which you could start a family (such as adopting or fostering), whilst you are waiting for the clinic's doctors to tell you that your test results have arrived.

Knowing what is involved in fostering or adopting a child, talking to various adoption agencies and perhaps speaking to parents in the local area who have already gone through the adoption process should mean that, if your test results show that you both carry the faulty gene, you won't feel completely crushed by this news or feel like adoption is some far-off, unachievable dream. Instead, you will have a concrete plan to fall back on. Whilst this won't eliminate the pain of getting unwanted results, it could ensure that the results don't quash your hopes of starting a family.