Every pregnancy, whether with or without medical help, has a risk of genetic disease. The risk is dependent primarily on maternal age. Without doing IVF, there is no way to prevent this. This risk of a genetic disease could be lower than 1 in 2000 for younger patients or higher than 1 in 5 for older patients. For an average 35 year old woman, the risk is about 1 in 350.
For some patients, they personally have an extra high risk because of something unique about their genetic makeup, or their husband’s. This usually is not discovered until they or someone in their family has given birth to a genetically abnormal child. Sometimes, this is discovered by testing that was triggered because a patient was having repeated pregnancy losses.
Some examples include couples in which the husband and wife share carrier status for the same autosomal recessive genetic disease. In this case, both partners are carriers. They are physically normal, but their children together are at risk. Another classic example are couples with genetic translocations. With translocations, the amount of genetic material is normal but just rearranged in an abnormal way so as to increase the chance to pass on extra copies or missing copies to the children.
If this your situation, we will take time to go over your options, often in collaboration with a genetic counselor. Some couples opt to do IVF to lower the risk of having an affected child to essentially zero. Others will end up making a calculated decision to take a gamble, after they get a good understanding of what the odds are.
If any of this describes your situation, you are welcome to contact us now so we can discuss your options.