What the answer majority give about can a disabled woman get pregnant?
The mother of a patient with Down Syndrome tells me in a talk on sexuality for parents that her daughter, as a great grace, has told her that she wants to get married and have children, so she quickly clarified that this would be impossible given her condition.
I imagine the face that girl must have put on if she didn’t understand anything. But I am more concerned about the pain she must have experienced not feeling empathy for her project.
This response made me sad, angry and helpless. How would we feel if an adult in our family, the people who know us best, cut our wings before they can appear?
People with intellectual disabilities can reproduce if they want, but clearly becoming pregnant is not the beginning of the road. Like any project, there is a long way to go before reaching the goal. Let’s think of high-performance athletes, who train for years to reach an Olympics or climb Everest.
If your child wants to be a mother or father in the future, this is great news! What they must do is capitalize on all their energy and desire to develop social skills in order to access this opportunity.
The path includes developing the language to know how to express what you feel and need and explain your points of view. You must know how to clean yourself, order your room, cook, and know how to buy, use public transport and go to your medical appointments. They must know how to flirt, establish a healthy relationship, know how to use contraception, and prevent sexually transmitted infections. Having a job, planning where to live, among others.
In the case of women with Down Syndrome, for example, they can get pregnant, and if their partner does not have the same condition, they have almost a 50% chance that their offspring will have it. They are also pregnancies with higher risks of other chromosomal abnormalities such as Turner Syndrome, spontaneous abortions in the first trimester, or premature. If your partner does have Down syndrome, they have a 25% chance of having a pregnancy without an extra chromosome. In the case of men with Down Syndrome, their sperm population is lower and with more alterations, in the medical literature only 4 cases of biological fathers with Down Syndrome have been reported, making it more difficult. Can A Disabled Woman Get Pregnant?
y adolescent or young patients with intellectual disabilities who wanted to be mothers, and have achieved most of the previously mentioned skills, have told me that when they go out and take care of their nephews they have realize that they like children, but not so much enough to be the full-time caregivers. Others have told me that they preferred to have pets. Personally, I have not yet had to accompany any girl with an intellectual disability during pregnancy, but there are several cases reported in the literature, in which it is shown that with the support of chaperones or the family, they manage to be good mothers and even have professional children.
To the relatives of my patients who I have asked if they would be willing to accompany their children on this path of being parents, no more than 15% have told me that they would risk it for this project. Most indicate that they are not old enough to care for this new generation or feel too tired to help a person with a disability again if that is the case.
I would tell them that the great message here is to prepare them so that the day they want to make that decision they will be in the best conditions, and hopefully, as a society, we will be able to accompany and support them.
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