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Will our child too suffer from mental retardation?

Q: I have been married for the last 3 years. Both of us are 30 years of age. We wish to have a child now but are scared as my husband's elder sister suffers from severe health issues. She is mentally retarded and has had severe seizures. We have all her test reports. She is 32 years of age but behaves like a 2-year-old and is completely dependent on her mother for everything. She also has problems in speech and drags herself while walking. So, if we want to have a child is it possible for us to find out during pregnancy if our future child will suffer from a similar problem or for that matter any problem?

A:You need to consult a genetist, have a family pedigree chart drawn up, have the diagnosis of the disease established first- check it's inheritance pattern, and possible risk of occurring in pregnancy. As a rule most disorders have a small risk of occurring and chance of normal is always higher. The pregnancy can be embarked upon after calculating risks following consultation, determining the antenatal testing required for the condition to be diagnosed, once pregnancy occurs. In this case if it is a case of cerebral palsy and cause related to labour events, the same may not occur at all again.


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