Chapter 8 – Children

“Playing the Cards Life has Dealt”

I get asked if I can have children quite often.  I have many friends with CF that have biological children.  Having children is something that needs to be discussed with your doctor so that they can determine what is best.  Women with CF are able to have children but may have some difficulty getting pregnant due to the thick cervical mucus that the CF body produces.  Some may also have fertility issues.  Ninety-seven percent of men with CF are sterile.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystic_fibrosis#Infertility)

If you want to conceive and one person has CF or is a carrier then genetic testing can be done on the person who does not have CF to see if they are a carrier.  There is a one in four chance that your child will have CF if both people are carriers of the CF gene.  Some people choose not to have genetic testing done and that is their choice.  You should discuss getting pregnant with your CF doctor.  Most likely once you voice an interest of getting pregnant to your CF doctor, they will suggest genetic counseling.  Genetic counseling consists of the genetic counselor getting medical history information about yours and your spouse’s/significant other’s family.  The medical history will help the genetic counselor to see risk for inherited diseases.  If there is a risk then you will receive information about the diseases and the level of risk.  A lot of times you do not have to do genetic counseling if you already know that you are a carrier of CF or other diseases.  You can bypass the counseling and go straight to getting the genetic testing started.  Once the results are in then you can make a better decision about getting pregnant.  Pregnancy should be under a doctor’s supervision so that you get the best care possible.  Pregnancy can be hard on a healthy woman’s body, so having CF and carrying a pregnancy can be very difficult.

While I was married previously I did try artificial insemination once and it did not take.  I look back now and realize that was the best thing that could have happened since we got divorced.  I was healthier ten years ago and had a better chance of carrying a pregnancy with little to no risk.  My doctor and I have now decided that it is best if I do not get pregnant.  A pregnancy would be hard on my body and I would be limited on the medications I could take.  I know many women with CF that did perfectly fine during pregnancy.  I also know others that had a lot of problems and the problems continued after the baby was born.  Every person’s body is different and there is really no way to know until you are in the middle of the situation.  I also know many that have adopted and are very happy with that decision.  It is just a matter of what is best for you and your situation.  There are other options like surrogacy to have a child.  It is best to explore all of the options available before making your final decision.

I opted to have my tubes tied to prevent getting pregnant instead of using other forms of birth control.  When you are on the birth control pill and on antibiotics a lot the pill becomes less effective.  Since I am on antibiotics often there seems to be no point in taking the pill.  So I went the permanent route instead.  I do have to say the Tubal ligation was the easiest surgery I have ever had; it beats all the sinus surgeries by far.  It was so easy that I even asked if I could have that one again.

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