Being the obnoxious little Gnome that I am, I’ve nicked @Tim‘s idea for a new thread, mainly because I had a bit of an extra twist I wanted to add.
Tim talked about having genes sequenced to see if one had Alzheimer’s or similar, would you really want to know? What about your children, would you want them to take the test? Then we have the killer question, if you could have your child’s genes sequenced in vitro to tell if they would become diabetic, would you have it done? If it was known to be infallible, done in the first four weeks of pregnancy, and proved positive, would you consider a termination?
I promise I’ll give my views, when everyone else has had time to have a go, but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up getting into trouble.
Never. Although I know people who don’t want to have children because of the (pretty small) risk of them getting diabetes. While I wouldn’t wish diabetes on anyone, it really isn’t that awful that I’d rather my parents had aborted me than make me “suffer” the life I have.
Of course, if you were an evil state trying to reduce healthcare costs, removing Type 1’s from the system before they even enter it would save a nice chunk of money.
@Stephen Why do you say there’s a 50% chance of your kids getting it? I’ve always know the risks are higher if your father has diabetes than your mother, but have never heard of it being that high. I’ve read the figures below from numerous sources over the years – this particular quote is taken from the American Diabetes Association because it was the first I came across:
“In general, if you are a man with type 1 diabetes, the odds of your child getting diabetes are 1 in 17. If you are a woman with type 1 diabetes and your child was born before you were 25, your child’s risk is 1 in 25; if your child was born after you turned 25, your child’s risk is 1 in 100.
Your child’s risk is doubled if you developed diabetes before age 11. If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes, the risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4.”
I admit that my diabetes has put me off having kids. More because I haven’t had a normal HbA1c until now (yay! loving my pump!) and the risks involved in being pregnant with diabetes (to the baby) than the risk of passing it on.
It’s only now that my HbA1c is in order that I’ve considered how diabetes may have influenced my kiddie having (or not having) decision. I always just thought that I’m not particularly maternal and never really wanted kids but I find myself now questioning if in fact I do want to, but because it wasn’t an option before, I just went with it…. Or if I wasn’t diabetic would I still just not be maternal and feel the same about giving up my life, sleep, money, etc ….hmmm, dunno.
I’m with @Alison though – I wouldn’t wish diabetes on anyone but if my kid had it, I’d be grateful that they had ‘expert me’ on hand to help them through all the stuff you have to learn to deal with – that’s more than most get.
@Stephen I’ve seen that 50% figure before as well, that’s why I asked where you got it from because I’ve never seen any evidence behind it but wondered if you had. Sounds like a good example of never taking advice from a single source, even/especially if it’s from a medical professional
In absolute terms everyone has 50% chance of getting diabetes – there are only two options, you get it or you don’t. But it’s the likelihood of it happening that you’re talking about.
From the American Diabetes Association stats I make your risk 1 in 17 – so they’re saying that if you have 17 children it’s likely that one of them would get diabetes. Or, if my rusty GCSE maths is right, I make that a 5.8% risk. I read it as, a father with T1 has a slightly higher risk of his children getting T1 than a mother with T1, but both risks are pretty low.
If anyone with a better grasp on statistics than me would like to step in here, you’re very welcome!
@bellebe I know what you mean. In my mind, the risk of passing it on is pretty minimal, I see the real risk as the potential harm that can happen to a baby living inside me while I’m playing at being a pancreas for both of us. If I get that wrong, the baby’s in trouble. But, that’s a really managable risk so it doens’t really put me off, just makes me think that pregnancy with D is significantly harder than pregnancy without it.
Diabetes has prevented me from having kids – because I can’t trust myself to always be available immediately to deal with any need of the kid – and I know that they need alot of immediate attention – which if I was low I couldn’t give them. So it would be unfair on the kid, I feel.
Well, if anyone hasn’t been able to be available, it’s me. What has resulted are two thoughtful, kind, empathetic children. So what if you can’t deal with every issue straight away? No child really needs immediate attention, unless they are choking or about to fall down a mine or something, and you know what? That hardly ever happens, and if it does, there’s usually someone else there, and if they aren’t, something in your body sees their needs as more important and you manage!
It was hard occasionally if the baby wanted feeding and I was too low, but I’d eat, the baby would cry, and then I’d feed. They learned patience.
The children of friends who jumped through hoops? Not so nice!
My daughter is now 23 and trying to save the planet, my son is 18 and looking at universities and also wants to do something good. I spent a lot of time explaining why, what, who, how to understand other people and their limitations, and it works!
Annette, if you want children go ahead. Immediate attention is not all it’s cracked up to be.
@Annette I’d never thought of it like that. I’ve always thought more along the lines of @Lizz . I’ve always assumed that no one is going to be the perfect parent all of the time and any limitations diabetes may put on me are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Any poor child of mine may be equally scarred by my impatience and occassional overwhelming drive to get stuff done as by being left to cry a little longer because I need to eat first. I don’t doubt being a mother is an incredibly challenging job, and adding diabetes into the mix can only make things harder, but I don’t think it’s an insurmountable challenge.
(Please note, if I am ever found rocking gently under a table in the middle of a nervous breakdown with 4 children under the age of 5, I reserve the right to retract this comment made whilst wearing rose tinted spectacles )
What a level headed lot you are! Well, I suppose I’d better put my two-pennyworth in. The truth of the matter is that I agree entirely with the first reaction from @Tim and @stephen. To do otherwise, I think, is taking you along a path towards choosing the genetic make up of the child, an idea I find quite repulsive. I don’t believe in termination as a form of contraception either, there’s absolutely no need for it, especially when the ‘morning after’ pill can be bought over the counter at the pharmacy, but I also appreciate mistakes can happen.
What I do believe in though, is the right to choose, especially for the mother. I don’t for a minute think any reasonable woman would terminate a pregnancy for diabetes, but for something like Spina Bifida, or Downes Syndrome, I can see why she may choose to go that route, particularly when it’s almost certain that the care of the disabled child would fall almost totally on her. I do know that some women have carried their child to term even knowing s/he was going to be disabled, and I applaud their courage.
So what I’m saying is that I believe it should be a woman’s right to choose whether or not to take such tests, and whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. The psychological fallout of a termination must be horrendous (my wife had two miscarriages, that was bad enough. She got over them eventually, but it was rough for her, a concious decision to terminate must be far worse), and I believe it is the job of the father to support her in her decision 100%. To be truthful, I could have written a whole essay on this subject, but I guess Tim would have me eviscerated and hung from a lamppost!
I wouldn’t wish what we have on my worst enemy.. and diabetes with pregnancy is not an easy journey (from personal experience).. but it didn’t stop me having a child… It has stopped me having any more..
I had to have fertility treatment to have my son, and was told that if I ended up with twins, that due to my diabetes, I couldn’t carry twins, so would have to have “selected reduction” – fortunately it didn’t happen, I was ok with the principle, but it’s always a different story when it comes to reality…
I had a nightmare time, but came out ok in the end (just!) – I am grateful for “huge” mercies and anyone who goes though it has had a lot to think about and to worry and care about.. it’s worth it, but definately not an easy choice/decision.
Wow, really Charlie? I had IVF for my two and no-one told me that – in fact my son was one of a twin, but the second embryo failed to develop and was re-absorbed… I know someone diabetic on insulin who has had triplets and one who has had twins. You have the rights over your own body, you can say ‘no’.
Just to stir somewhat – if a test was done in vitro (as most genetic tests on embryos are – there is a whole branch of genetic testing known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) then you would know the results of the test prior to the embryo being placed into the mother, therefore the issue of a termination is irrelevant. Really it’s whether or not you’d want to know. Added to the fact that type 1 diabetes is a combination of genetics, causing a predisposition to the condition, and external factors causing it, there would be no way to tell from a genetic test. (I know the question was hypothetical, but I study this stuff so I had to point it out!)
Neither of my parents are diabetic. I have some uncles on my mum side that developed type two in there late 60’s. Historically the men on both sides of my family cop it very early most dont even make it to 50 on my dads side and my mums dad died when she was 14. My grandad on my dads side was diabetic and died before i was born and an uncle on my dads side lost both his legs to gangrene from poor diabetese care. They allways talk about things skipping generations so maybe the diabetese gene did. I have also read about the virus causing it so would be nice to actually know the facts about this.