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Cystic Fibrosis Carrier and Infertility

Posted Sep 27 2009 12:00am
Question
I am a carrier of the Cystic Fibrosis gene. How does this affect my chances of becoming pregnant? I am 33 yrs old and am taking 5mg of folic acid to prepare my body. My husband and I definitely want a child, but we were for waiting at least until next year before trying. I have a very strong fear that conceiving is not going to be straight forward. Can you advise me on this issue? I have been advised to have children sooner rather than later.

AnswerHello Sharon,
Thank you for your question. First, I do advise sooner than later, especially after the age of 30. As you know, your fertility rate is decreasing with time. For instance, at 30, the pregnancy rate is 60% per year. At 35 it is 30% per year. You're in-between that rate. I wouldn't put it off.

In terms of your cystic fibrosis gene, it has no bearing on your pregnancy chances. It only impacts on the fetus, if and only if, your husband is also a carrier. In that case, you have a 50% chance of the fetus having cystic fibrosis, which is a fatal disease in children. If your husband is a carrier, and he should be tested if he has not, then you should undergo IVF with PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) to exclude the embryos with the cystic fibrosis gene.

I hope this answers your question.

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
http://www.montereybayivf.com/
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
Check me out on Facebook and twitter with me at @montereybayivf.
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