Cystic fibrosis is a disease in which the body produces thick mucus, which causes respiratory and digestive problems, making the body vulnerable to bacterial infections. It is a genetic condition. People with cystic fibrosis inherit two sets of chromosomes from the nonfunctioning cystic fibrosis gene, one from each parent. At most one copy of the non-functioning gene must be present in both parents.
Men and women with cystic fibrosis produce normal levels of sex hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, so they can enjoy a normal sex life. Since May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, we have reached out to Dr. Junjan Sabhirwalfertility expert at Nova Southend IVF & FertilityI asked her to share some information about cystic fibrosis, its symptoms, how we can diagnose it, its relationship to fertility, and what is involved in the treatment process. Read on to find out everything she shared!
What is cystic fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a complex condition. It is an autosomal receptive disorder more common among Caucasians. More than 95% of men with cystic fibrosis have bilateral congenital absence of the vas deferens and oligospermia. In females, the condition is associated with delayed puberty, menopause, and reduced fertility. CFTR mutations may also be associated with congenital absence of the uterus and vagina. Reactions and their severity may vary greatly from person to person. Many factors, including your age once diagnosed, may affect your health and the course of the condition.
An initial diagnosis, race test, genetic testing or carrier testing, and clinical examination at a CF Foundation-accredited care center must be included in the CF diagnosis. Although most cystic fibrosis patients are diagnosed by age 2, others are diagnosed later in life. To ensure a cystic fibrosis diagnosis, a cystic fibrosis expert can arrange a sweat test and prescribe additional tests.
The types and severity of cystic fibrosis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. As a result, while treatment plans may include most of the same aspects, they are tailored to each individual’s specific needs.
Cystic fibrosis and pregnancy
While most people with cystic fibrosis may become pregnant and have healthy babies, the condition can affect fertility, delay pregnancy and lead to premature or small babies. The stresses of pregnancy on a woman’s body can aggravate cystic fibrosis, even if it does not have a long-term effect. Many potential difficulties can be avoided if you plan to become pregnant when cystic fibrosis is well controlled.
Some cystic fibrosis medications are thought to be harmful to an unborn baby, so you may need to adjust your treatment protocol before you become pregnant or as soon as you realize you’re pregnant. The researchers identified which drug classes — and in certain cases, any specific drugs — should be considered first- or second-line treatments, and which should only be taken when no other option is available.
You and your partner must have the cystic fibrosis gene in order to fertilize and give birth to a baby with cystic fibrosis. To be affected, your child must inherit the cystic fibrosis gene from both parents. He would be considered a carrier if he got the gene from only one parent, but he wouldn’t have cystic fibrosis.
Since not all males with cystic fibrosis have infertility issues, it is crucial that a married couple get screened for the genetic disorder. You can have healthy babies even if both of you are pregnant. The only known genetic causes of failure of spermatogenesis are chromosomal abnormalities and microdeletions of regions of azoospermia factor (AZF) in the Y chromosome. Male infertility is primarily caused by genetic diseases that interfere with the formation of mature sperm and their transit to the egg for fertilization.
Men with cystic fibrosis who want to have children may be able to retrieve their sperm from either the epididymis or testis, and fertilize them in a laboratory with eggs taken from a female partner. There are several methods for extracting sperm.
It is best to consult a fertility expert and get more understanding about cystic fibrosis.
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