What Would You Do If Your Husband Carried a Gene For Autism?
I don't have a child on the Autism spectrum, but I'm in the minority as Autism currently affects every one in every 88 children. It is a sobering fact that I think our society is finally seriously grappling with and attempting to unearth its causes and best ways to treat it, as we now have the month of April dedicated to Autism awareness. As a result we've been barraged by a litany of studies and research results all incumbent on finding the culprit to this condition, and in a recent study, scientists seem to be getting closer to finding a gene, present in the father's DNA, that may be associated with some forms of Autism. But it is also not conclusive that having that gene will give one Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). And if you do possess this gene, having that information will not verify the severity your offspring's autism.
If my child had ASD I'm not sure how I would feel about this; would I want to get my husband tested to see if he was a carrier of that gene?
Perhaps if we were planning on having more kids. But being armed with that information- would that prevent me from trying to get pregnant- I also don't know. I can't possibly imagine what it might be like to raise a child on the spectrum and all the joy, and at times pain that journey might take. So I asked several moms with kids on the spectrum for their thoughts on ASD and its genetic links to fathers. Most specifically I wanted to know; does knowing that there is a genetic marker that may be the culprit to your child's ASD have any impact on
you, and will it or does it change anything for you or your future offspring?
Kelly Gehrmann Whalen: Interesting. I think there is so much we don't understand about how the human body works.
The headlines are very misleading. Autism is a complex thing to understand, and while a gene may make children more pre-disposed to be on the Autism spectrum that is not the full story. For my family it doesn't change anything. My oldest who is 14 is on the spectrum. I was pregnant with my last when he was diagnosed. We are done growing our family. Maybe when our children are older they will have the option to test their genes, or there will be some sort of test during pregnancy that shows what possibility there is for autism. Until then I personally believe that while autism spectrum disorders do make parenting more challenging they also bring rewards that we are fortunate to experience.
Emily Vanek: Brady does not have a genetic marker for Autism and actually runs on my side of the family not his fathers.
That said I don't think having a genetic marker would change my view on it. I agree with Kelly that this was my last child anyway, so that wouldn't really change things in my eyes either. Personally I'd be more worried about a genetic marker for cancer than for autism.
Alicia Peiffer: It doesn't change anything for me. I read this study earlier today but I've found the opposite is true in my family. I have a sister and cousin, both with children who are on the spectrum, but my husband doesn't have anyone on his side of the family with ASD.
Gina Badalaty: Well, I believe that "genetics loaded the gun, environment pulled the trigger", and yes I'm saying that for a child "born with it". But it's not my quote.
Nicole Basile LaRusso: Honestly knowing about the genetic marker doesn't really impact me or my son. He has the diagnosis and how he got it doesn't matter. My hope is that ASD can be more understood by society. My son is doing great. My son was diagnosed at 2.5 and I'm happy he got the diagnosis when he did. He started out patient therapies and now attends a full day pre-k program.