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I have HD, will my children have HD?

January 31, 2015

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

HDYO has more information about HD available for young people, parents and professionals on our site:


I have HD, will my children have HD?

Q. Hi..my mother is HD. I am also diagnosed. I know I have got this from my mother. My worry is that will my children also have the HD. I am planning to start my family in couple of years. Thank you

Aryan, young adult, India

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A. Dear Aryan,

Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that you and your mother have been diagnosed with HD.

I think it is very natural that you are thinking about the chance of your children also having HD. As you may know, when someone with HD has a child, there will usually be a 50:50 (1 in 2) chance that the child would also inherit the HD gene expansion (although, of course, even if they carry the HD gene expansion, it would be very unlikely that they would develop any symptoms until later in life).

Some people do not change their family plans due to a family history of HD, often partly in the hope that better treatments would be available by the time any children develop symptoms, even if they inherit it. Other people may choose one of a number of options to try to avoid having a child who could be at risk of HD. These options include having genetic tests before or during a pregnancy, as well as other alternatives such as adoption, or gamete (egg/sperm) donation. This article on HDYO has some more detail about these options

These are very personal choices, and often individuals/couples find it helpful to talk things through with a specialist Genetic Doctor or Counsellor, who could provide further information and support, whatever you decide. If you let us know where in India you live, we would be happy to try to find out what genetics services might be available to you locally (alternatively your local doctor may be able to refer you).

If so, or if there is anything else we can help with, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

Best wishes