Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder caused by an abnormal gene that is passed from parent to child.  Cystic fibrosis is an illness that affects all the organs of the body but typically cause problems with digestion and breathing.  It doesn’t affect person’s appearance or mental ability, but it does have a serious effect on the health and life span.

In order to pass cystic fibrosis on to your child, both you and your partner must carry an abnormal recessive gene.  The parents will likely show no symptoms but will have a 1 in 4 chance to pass it along to their baby.

Parents can be tested to asses if they are a carrier, testing is available to all mothers during pregnancy.  If the mother is a carrier, they will next test the partner.  Both parents have to be carriers to pass it along to the baby.  If the mother is positive and the father is not available, a genetic counselor will work with the mom to see if testing needs to be done to the baby.

If both parents are positive, there is a 25% chance their child will have cystic fibrosis.  It is more likely that the baby will be a carrier of the gene, but it is possible that the baby isn’t a carrier even if both parents are carriers.  To test if the baby has CF, parents have the option of prenatal tests – chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis.  If the tests shows that the baby has CF the parents have the option to end the pregnancy (each state has laws about this) or prepare to raise a child with CF.

Cystic fibrosis affects the organs of the body, it causes a thick mucous to build up on the lungs and digestive organs.  The mucous can cause problems breathing and infections when it builds up in the lungs.  In the digestive system it causes problems absorbing nutrients.  Treatments have improved over the years, but there is no cure.  Treatments include daily therapy, and drugs.

Information provided by a local OBGYN, if you have specific medical questions please contact your health care provider. 



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