Research: Choosing to Have a Baby

R

Objective:
This study aimed to determine reproductive practices and attitudes of
North Americans diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the reasons
for their reproductive decision making
Methods: A
self-administered questionnaire on reproductive practices was mailed to
13,312 registrants of the North American Research Committee on Multiple
Sclerosis (NARCOMS) database who met inclusion criteria for the study.
Completed questionnaires were then returned to the authors in an
anonymous format for analysis.
Results: Among 5949
participants, the majority of respondents (79.1%) did not become
pregnant following diagnosis of MS. Of these, 34.5% cited MS-related
reasons for this decision. The most common MS-related reasons were
symptoms interfering with parenting (71.2%), followed by concerns of
burdening partner (50.7%) and of children inheriting MS (34.7%). The
most common reason unrelated to MS for not having children was that they
already have a “completed family” (55.6%). Of the 20.9% of participants
who decided to become pregnant (or father a pregnancy) following a
diagnosis of MS, 49.5% had two or more pregnancies.

Conclusion:This
study indicates that an MS diagnosis does not completely deter the
consideration of childbearing in MS patients of both genders

This
study indicates that being diagnosed with MS influences your decision
about having a baby. I wonder if this would be the same rate in the UK
or other countries where there is socialised medicine?

About the author

MouseDoctor

4 comments

  • This is a really difficult topic, and think to a certain extent reflects how a person has been affected by MS and also their optimism or otherwise about treatments improving. I chose to have children partly because my relapses were so mild i was in denial for a long time. I'm pleased I was able to bring my children up but do worry about them inheriting an increased risk. I wish I had known about vitD because I would have taken it during pregnancy. I can understand how someone who is badly affected from the outset might decide against having a family.

  • Is choosing to have a baby post MS diagnosis a form of child abuse? It seems unfair to burden the poor child with emotional worries concerning their parents degenerative health.

  • What an absurd comment regarding child abuse. However, it might be considered child abuse if you are an ignorant person, ready to spread your way of thinking to a child. Therefore, I hope YOU are not thinking of having children.

  • Absolutely ridiculous. Did you give up driving after having a child? Riding a motorbike? Climbing? I have MS, I grew up looking after a dad with cancer (melanoma origin) in my teens and wouldn't have had it any other way. I also teach. We care for young people who have home lives that are enormously varied. Resilience develops in those who need it. Children help care for parents whose needs have been there from day one, or developed sometime down the line. Dx or not, you never know what the future will hold.

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