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Question
Posted by: Curious | 2008/01/29

Detecting mental illness in the womb

Hi there

My brother has a mental illness (schitzophrenia) and I am told it can be hereditary.

What are the odds that I will have a child with the disease and is it possible to detect it in the womb and if so how soon?

I have seen my brother suffer and my family has suffered as well due to his illness and I would really rather abort than bring a child into this world with that kind of affliction.

Please advise

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It is not possible to detect any of the basic mental illnesses in the womb. a specialist could potentially calculate some sense of the risk, after taking a detailed family history ( because other family members with schizophrenia or related personality traits are relevant. I understand your concern. The great majority of children bron in families in which there is schizophrenia, are perfectly normal and remain so. All that happens when it may be hereditary is that the risk may be slightly higher than it would be in any other family ( in which there would still be some degree of risk ). The more family members have this ( and other disordrs ) the higher the risk, but it is always lower than you seem to be fearing. Maybe you can usefully discuss this with your brother's psychiatrist who will know most about the familty history and the nature of your brother's particular illness.

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Our users say:
Posted by: blackbird | 2008/01/31

if mental illness was detectable in the womb, most of the people in government will not be alive today.

Reply to blackbird
Posted by: genetic counselling | 2008/01/29

You can have genetic counselling at any of your local universities, enquire near you. They will work out your odds and percentage....

Reply to genetic counselling
Posted by: bill | 2008/01/29

Yes, exactly, because if you are the sort of person who worries about this while you are pregnant, it means you will not be able to cope with such a child. Rather let the child not be born than have a miserable life.

Reply to bill
Posted by: RtL | 2008/01/29

And if you were able to detect it in the womb, you would flush the child down the toilet?

Reply to RtL

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