I have Fabry disease. Will my children have it?
Fabry disease is inherited in an X-linked pattern. Both men and women can experience symptoms of the disease.
The chance for a child to inherit Fabry disease depends on whether the father or the mother has Fabry disease. If a man has Fabry disease, then his only X-chromosome contains the nonworking GLA gene and he will pass it on to all of his daughters and none of his sons. If a woman has Fabry disease, only one of her X-chromosomes contains the nonworking GLA gene. This means she will have a 50% chance with each pregnancy of passing it on to both her daughters and sons. Both males and females can have Fabry disease.
If a child is the first in the family to be diagnosed with Fabry disease, it was likely inherited from one of their parents who has not yet been diagnoses, although spontaneous (de novo) gene changes that occur for the first time in that child are possible as well. Each parent of a child with Fabry disease should be tested for the same known mutation in the GLA gene.
If Fabry disease runs in a family, genetic testing is available to determine who else in the family is affected. In fact, there are several free testing programs for Fabry disease. For more information about testing, you should speak with your healthcare provider. A genetic counselor can also help determine and individual's risk of having Fabry disease based on a detailed family and medical history as well as discuss and organize testing. For individuals who live in the United States, genetic counselors in your area can be found on the National Society of Genetic Counselors website: http://www.aboutgeneticcounselors.com/
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