cystic fibrosis

Should bad genes = no more kids? – Part 2: our circumstances

Once Katie was diagnosed with CF, genetic testing was done to identify the defective genes that she adopted from Julie and I. In our case, Katie has the most common mutation, “double Delta F508”. This meant that Katie received the same defective gene from both of us, “delta F508”. Thus, Julie and I are both carriers of the problematic “delta F508” gene.

Noah was tested for CF as well. His sweat test result came back negative for CF. But, he has not been tested genetically yet. Like this discussion, there are ethical questions surrounding genetic testing in general. So, we’ve decided to let Noah make the decision to have further genetic testing when he’s older and understands the ethical issues involved.

When Katie was first diagnosed, we immediately thought that we’d never have more children. This was difficult to accept because we had long thought that we would have a third child. But, for the first few months, we simply accepted the fact that we would not have more children due to the increased risk of CF with subsequent children.

But over time, as we learned to accept CF in our family, we started getting back to a normal family routine. Part of this routine included discussing our options for a third child. We had several options to consider:

  • adoption
  • in vitro fertilization
  • surrogate carrier
  • natural conception
  • simply stop at 2 kids
  • other – I’m sure I’m missing some options

As we considered the options, cost, timing, effort involved and ethical considerations conspired against us.

We didn’t have the money to pursue some of the options: IVF looks like a $10K+ undertaking. And, IVF has some ethical considerations as well. What do we do with the leftover embryos, for example? We weren’t comfortable with the destruction, freezing or donation of unused embryos.

We didn’t feel ready to consider adoption.

And, we weren’t comfortable with having a surrogate carrier.

So… our options were limited. We weren’t quite sure what to do.

Next up: Part 3 – reaching out

By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

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