Before starting a family, make sure you understand your genetic situation and how it can affect pregnancy and your prospective child.
Family planning can be an exciting and emotional time for any couple. However, if you have a genetic disorder, finding your soulmate isn’t enough: there are other questions to consider. From talking to your doctor about the risks of having a child to considering alternative options such as adoption or embryo screening, navigating family planning with genetic disorders can feel overwhelming. In this guest post, Melissa Howard from StopSuicide.info explores some important steps to help you make informed decisions.
Work With Your Doctor and a Genetic Counselor
When considering family planning with genetic disorders, it is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks associated with having a child. Depending on the nature of your disorder, there may be a higher risk of passing it on to your child. A genetic counselor can help you understand the risks and provide guidance on the best course of action. They can also help you determine if genetic testing is necessary.
Find Health Insurance and Get to Know GINA
Finding affordable health insurance is crucial, both for those with genetic disorders and their offspring. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) protects individuals from discrimination by health insurance companies based on their genetic information. This means that health insurers cannot use genetic information to deny coverage, charge higher premiums, or impose pre-existing condition exclusions.
Research Treatments and Therapies
Family planning with genetic disorders makes it crucial to research available treatments and therapies. For example, in vitro fertilization (IVF) with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows for the screening of embryos to ensure they do not carry the genetic disorder. Other treatments, such as gene therapy, may become available in the future. It is crucial to stay informed of any new developments in treatments and therapies.
Consider Other Options
While having biological children may be the first choice for many couples, it is important to consider other options. Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family and provides a loving home to a child in need. Embryo screening is also an option that allows couples to select embryos that do not carry the genetic disorder.
Seek Support From Friends and Family
Family planning can be an overwhelming time, particularly when there is a genetic disorder involved. It’s normal to feel stressed, scared, and anxious about the future. Seeking support from friends and family who can offer emotional support can help ease some of the burden. Additionally, joining support groups can provide a safe space to share concerns and ask questions while connecting with others facing similar challenges.
Consider Moving to a Larger Home
It’s crucial to make sure you have enough room for your new, bigger family. If your current living arrangements are too small, consider whether you’re able to move to a larger home or apartment before starting your family. Check local listings to find a suitable and affordable place that meets your space requirements before you expand your family. This will set yourself up for success in your family planning journey.
Prepare for Pregnancy and Postpartum
If you decide to have a child, it is important to know what to expect throughout pregnancy and postpartum. For women with genetic disorders, there may be additional risks associated with pregnancy. It is important to work closely with your doctor and receive regular prenatal care. Postpartum depression is also a common concern for new parents, particularly those with a genetic disorder. Speak with your doctor about potential treatment options.
Family Planning With Genetic Disorders: Complex, Challenging, but You Can Do It!
Family planning can be an overwhelming process when dealing with genetic disorders. However, it is possible to navigate this journey successfully with proper planning and support. Working with a genetic counselor, finding affordable health insurance, and exploring options for a larger home are just a few of the important steps to take when planning a family with genetic disorders.