Thinking about having children?

For a couple where one partner, either the woman or man, carry a BRCA mutation there is a 50% risk that their child will inherit the BRCA mutation.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)

It is now possible for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to enable people with an inheritable condition to avoid passing on the mutation to their children. It involves checking the genes of the embryo created through IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and then only the embryos that are shown not to carry the mutation are transferred to the womb to develop. The risks involved with PGD are similar to those for conventional in vitro fertilisation. Children who have had PGD have health and development that is no different to children who are conceived naturally.

This is one reason why young men in families with a BRCA mutation may consider genetic testing as the knowledge of carrying a faulty gene may be important for them and their partner when thinking about starting a family.

Egg or sperm donation

Some couples may chose to use donor eggs (if mum is the carrier) or donor sperm (if dad is the carrier) as an alternative way to avoid passing on the BRCA mutation to their children.