Should people have children if they have hereditary illnesses?

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  1. peeples profile image91
    peeplesposted 9 years ago

    Should people have children if they have hereditary illnesses?

    Prior to having children I thought I was healthy. Now with three children I have found out I have several illnesses that my children may end up having. It got me thinking, If someone knows they have something that could be passed on to a child and make them miserable adults should they consider that and possibly not have children? Is it fair to have children when you know they have a high chance of ending up with a disease?

  2. ChristinS profile image39
    ChristinSposted 9 years ago

    Wow, that's a tough call and I suppose it would depend on the condition and the likelihood.  As a general rule I would say no, not to let a risk of something that might not happen rob you of the joy of being a mother if that's what you truly want or to rob a child from enjoying what could very well be a full, rich life. The truth is we never know in life - life is full of uncertainties that can't be avoided.

    Many people, even those with chronic conditions (I have chronic bronchitis and asthma since childhood) live good lives and in many cases go beyond what you think they can do.  I did my first distance run at 40 - something I was convinced for the longest time that a bit of arthritis and all those lung issues wouldn't let me do.  I'm very much "I do what I want" kind of person and decided I would go for it and train anyway.  Every person decides their own limitations in life.  It's not what happens to us so much as how we learn to adapt and manage it.

    1. peeples profile image91
      peeplesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I am glad that you can get past your issues. However some illnesses aren't a matter of control of the person. If you had something crippling, something that ate away at your body until it killed you would you have still had your kids?

    2. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I think I would have - because one can't know that their children will have the same disease, also with modern technology, by the time our kids are our age who knows what treatments might be? tough call though I get it.

    3. Lori P. profile image70
      Lori P.posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      peeples, that is something to really think about. Although I would have not hesitated to have my son due to his disorder, if it were one that would cause him to really suffer, I would rethink my decision.

  3. Lori P. profile image70
    Lori P.posted 9 years ago

    That is a good question. Couples can go through genetic counseling to determine their chances of conceiving a child who will have a debilitating disease but, frankly, nothing is certain. There are many news stories of couples who wrestled with the thought of aborting a fetus that was determined to have a particular syndrome and when they went ahead with the birth, the baby was completely healthy. One truly must follow his heart in making such decisions.

    1. peeples profile image91
      peeplesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the answer. You are very right. As selfish as it is I think I still would have had my kids even knowing.

    2. Lori P. profile image70
      Lori P.posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      In addition, I had a son born with a terminal genetic disorder. He was the light and joy of our lives and we most definitely would have had him even knowing of his condition before birth. He was a game changer for us in so many ways.

  4. tsmog profile image84
    tsmogposted 9 years ago

    That is a very tough question. Having a couple genetic disorder/diseases I wrestled with that and decided not to. The challenge for me was relationship building was tough as the partner wished for a child and it be her child. That led to a few relationships that ended cordially, however it also led to difficulties with relationships later too. It is very difficult to explain why you preferred not to have children and be acceptable while being respected for it too.

    I think answering your question it is a choice, yet I firmly believe children are blessings no matter. Natural birth, adopted, or foster. They are a gift in a sense :-)

    1. peeples profile image91
      peeplesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You are very right. Those are great options if someone isn't comfortable putting their children at risk.

    2. Lori P. profile image70
      Lori P.posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I know this viewpoint will be a departure from the mainstream, but spiritually speaking, I understand that there are reasons for those difficult experiences. And souls agree to be born into bodies that will experience medical and health problems.

  5. MizBejabbers profile image87
    MizBejabbersposted 9 years ago

    I can't answer for other people, but if I had it to do over again and knew what I know now, I would not foist my family's genetic problems on my descendants. It seems like I received every disease except for colon cancer that either side of my family had (knock on wood) and I'm probably a carrier for that. I passed on one autoimmune disease that may kill my youngest son. I regret seeing him suffer, and I regret the fact that these may be passed on to my grandchildren and those who come after. If I had known what we would go through with that and other problems, I would have considered it the height of extreme selfishness to have children "just because I wanted to".
    On another note, when we have defective children, we pass these defective genes on down through society and weaken the gene pool. Have you noticed how few people have naturally 20/20 vision, for example. I really think it is selfish to pass on our defects when we know we have something dire. Just because our sibling has something and we don't, doesn't mean that we are not a carrier. People applaud when they see a baby survive a heart or other organ transplant, but they don't realize that these children will be on immunosuppressants the rest of their lives. Even the common cold could kill them at any time. Is it really worth it to put another human being through all that?

    1. peeples profile image91
      peeplesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Everything you just described is what scares the heck out of me. I am so worried I may have doomed one of my children if not all. I hope I am wrong.

    2. Lori P. profile image70
      Lori P.posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Wow. What a difficult experience. You're right about not birthing children who will suffer. It must have been excruciating to witness that. My son did go through some hard things and that alone was painful for us.

    3. MizBejabbers profile image87
      MizBejabbersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Lori. My son's condition is curable in children, but it usually is not in adults and that is the problem. It is killing his kidneys and with the disease, he may not be eligible for a transplant.

    4. profile image0
      TheBizWhizposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think we have "defective" children. Only defective adults who think children are defective if they aren't like everyone else

  6. peachpurple profile image82
    peachpurpleposted 9 years ago

    hard to say. Like my mom has diabetic, her whole family plus her grandmother are diabetics for generations. Yet, all her siblings had kids and now, me and my brother has mild diabetic too.

  7. profile image0
    TheBizWhizposted 9 years ago

    From the way the question is structured, I have to assume that you mean should we as a society make laws that prohibit someone with hereditary illnesses to have children: I have to answer a resounding No.

    This is called eugenics. Followers of this typically believe in it because they want to rid the world of what they consider the less desirable; in this case those that may or may not have a disease.

    Who gets to decide? The politicians? The voters? Would you want to put that kind of power in someone else's hands? The Germans did and look what happened.

    Almost everyone has some type of hereditary disease to pass on, so if we said people with hereditary diseases cannot have children, we would not have a population. For instance, on my mother's side heart disease is genetic. She has taken very good care of herself by exercising, eating well and staying thin, but she still has heart problems. Should she not have been allowed to have children? Where do we draw the line?

    Also, just because a disease is prevalent in a family, doesn't mean 100% of the decedents will have the disease.

  8. baybpnk profile image69
    baybpnkposted 9 years ago

    If you ask a parent of a child who has something like Autism (which I'm not sure is hereditary but it's life changing enough and let's suppose it is here) chances are they would say that they would do it all over again. Why? Because a life is a life and though it may be different, difficult, or demanding, they are still human. They are still having good days and bad days like everyone else. They are still enjoying themselves in their own way and they are still worth the life they have.


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