Should couples who have given birth to kids with muscular dystrophy be encouraged to use contraception or go ahead and try for another child who has a high chance of having the disease? Answered by Dr. Cristopher Ng.
Let’s say two children of a couple are born with muscular dystrophy. Should the couple be encouraged to use contraception or go ahead and try for another child who has a very high chance of being born with muscular dystrophy?
This is a very personal choice and couples should seek genetic counselling before trying to get pregnant again to determine their individual risk. Muscular dystrophies are a group of more than 30 genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal muscles. Some are seen in infancy and childhood while others may not appear until middle age or later.
The disorders also differ in the pattern of inheritance. For example Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common form and affects mainly boys. Girls on the other hand have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting and passing the defective gene to their children. So in this case if the couple were to have a girl the child would only be a carrier and not be affected.
Dr. Christopher Ng
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist
GynaeMD Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic, Camden Medical Centre.
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