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Can cystic fibrosis be prevented?


Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition. The only way to prevent cystic fibrosis is through genetic counseling with your partner prior to conceiving a child. Genetic counseling involves assessing your genetic makeup as well as your partner's genetic makeup. If cystic fibrosis has occurred in your family lineage or in the family lineage of your partner, it is best to seek genetic counseling to determine if you are both carriers for cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is the most common genetic disorder in Caucasians. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suspect that you and your partner may be carriers, especially if there is a family history of the condition [source: Mayo Clinic; Georgia Health].

If you are both carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, there is a 25 percent chance that your offspring will have two defective genes, resulting in the condition. There is a 50 percent chance that your offspring will be carriers themselves, meaning they will have one defective gene. Finally, there is a 25 percent chance that your offspring will have two healthy genes. If you and your partner are both carriers, you may decide not to conceive in order to prevent having a child with cystic fibrosis [source: ACOG].

If you and your partner are both carriers of cystic fibrosis and you decide to conceive, you may decide to have a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test. This test can determine the genetic makeup of the fetus early in the pregnancy. CVS can be performed at nine weeks gestation. A small amount of placenta is removed and sent for testing. The placenta cells are allowed to grow for seven days and are then tested for cystic fibrosis. If a CVS test comes back positive for cystic fibrosis, you may opt for an abortion to prevent cystic fibrosis in your offspring [source: ACOG].


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