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My auntie had HD but my father doesn't could i have it?

December 29, 2015

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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


My auntie had HD but my father doesn't could i have it?

Q. My auntie had HD but my father doesn’t could i have it?

John, Young Adult, UK

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A. Dear John Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your Aunt had HD. If your father did not inherit the HD gene expansion, you would not be at any increased risk of HD. However, I was a little unsure from your question, when you say your father does not have it, whether you mean he has had a genetic test that confirms he has not inherited the HD gene expansion, or if you mean he does not have symptoms of HD?

This is quite important, as the age at which someone who carries the HD gene expansion starts to have symptoms can be very variable, so someone who does not have symptoms could potentially still carry the gene expansion, and could pass it on to their children. The average age to start with symptoms is around 35-50, but some individuals with HD have symptoms earlier or later in life than this. The longer someone lives without developing symptoms, the less likely they are to carry the HD gene expansion, so even if your father has not had a genetic test, the fact he is well is still likely to reduce the chance that he (or you) carries the HD gene expansion, although this will depend a little bit on how old he is.

Your local Genetic service would be able to provide more information if you wish, tailored to your family situation. If so, you could ask your GP to refer you to your local Genetics service.

I hope this helps answer your question, and please do not hesitate to get back to us if you have any further queries, or if you have any difficulty accessing your local Genetics service.

Best wishes