Reproductictive choices


Reproductive history of the Danish multiple sclerosis population: A register-based study. Moberg JY, Laursen B, Thygesen LC, Magyari M. Mult Scler. 2019 May 30:1352458519851245. 

BACKGROUND: A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) may impact the choice of parenthood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the number of live births, abortions and ectopic pregnancies among persons with MS.

METHODS: From the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry, we extracted data from all persons diagnosed with MS from 1960 to 1996 and matched each MS person with four reference persons. We used a negative binomial regression model for the live births and Poisson regression model for abortions and ectopic pregnancies. The total fertility rate (TFR) during 1960-2016 and the annual number of live births in the MS population were analysed.

RESULTS: Persons with MS had fewer children than reference persons. Fewer women with MS had elective abortions after diagnosis (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.88; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.78-1.00) than reference persons. There was no difference regarding the number of elective abortions, spontaneous abortions or ectopic pregnancies after onset. The TFR was lower for women with MS than for reference persons, and the number of annual live births by MS persons increased during 1960-2016.

CONCLUSION: MS seems to considerably impact reproductive choices, especially after clinical diagnosis, resulting in the MS population having fewer children than the general population

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  • It was my understanding that women used to be advised not to have children. Just like they used to not encourage exercise… I feel fortunate that I had my children before my MS diagnosis. The use of DMT and pregnancy planning would be stressful.

  • I was diagnosed with MS in 2004 when I was 28 y.o. My husband & I, whom had already been together for 8 years, married 6 months prior, but my symptoms began to flair during wedding preparations. We didn’t know whether or not we were going to have children, but our plan was to begin trying in our mid-30s after we made enough money so that one of us had the option to not continue working or where one or both of us could work p/t if that’s what we wanted. However, because of the MS, we never tried to have children. It was an easy choice for us. I cannot fathom bringing a child into my everyday life when taking care of my everyday needs is so taxing. So, I pride myself on being a wonderful aunt to my nieces & nephews and an “aunt” to my friends’ children. Candidly, what has been harder for me is losing my identity and dealing with the unpredictability of this disease. But that’s for another post. JSV

  • I had already had my son when I was diagnosed, so I am grateful that I didn’t have to make that decision. I think what would have been scary to me would not necessarily be the potential impact on my own health but the idea that my son’s chances of being diagnosed with MS are elevated. (And I do of course still have to deal with that.)

  • Curious what prof g and mouse doctors pov is. Should women decide not to reproduce post diagnosis? It should they not be scared and go for it?

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