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Epilepsy: Can I Become a Mother?

  1. 🩺 Contraindications to carriage

Epilepsy and IVF require careful planning and a dedicated healthcare team to ensure the best possible outcome. Often prospective parents are concerned about the question “can epilepsy transfer from mother to child?” At an early stage of planning, questions arise about the risk of having a baby with epilepsy. Yes, epilepsy can indeed be hereditary, but the expectant mother should know the following:

  1. With a genetically determined form of epilepsy in the mother and the absence of the disease in the father, the probability of having a child with epilepsy is 5%.
  2. If both parents are carriers of genetically determined form of epilepsy - the risk increases, but slightly.

Can you pass epilepsy to your child? Genetic factors may increase the risk of developing epilepsy if there's a family history of the condition. To fully understand the prospects, a woman may be assigned a genetic type test. This will more accurately determine the likelihood of transmission of the disease to the child. Taking folic acid a few months before the planned pregnancy can minimize the increased risk of fetal neural tube pathologies.

Contraindications to carriage

The contraindications to gestation in case of epilepsy are associated with the risks both to the mother and the child. The malformations in a child can be caused to a greater extent by the teratogenic effect of antiepileptic medicines. Therefore, preparation for pregnancy shall be agreed with the attending physician and be accompanied by a review of the treatment regimen. At the same time, refusal of treatment can lead to no less serious consequences than taking medicines.

The epileptic attacks during pregnancy are a serious threat to both the mother and the fetus. Possible consequences include: injuries during any fall, oxygen starvation of the fetus (and malformations as a result), death from increased stress on the cardiovascular system. So if someone ask “can someone with epilepsy be a surrogate?” we would say “no”.

The treatment of epilepsy during pregnancy is an extremely difficult task requiring increased attention of a group of specialists: geneticist, neurologist, and obstetrician-gynecologist. If the patient chooses reproductive treatment the intersection of IVF and epilepsy requires careful consideration.

The main danger to the fetus at this stage is the need to change the antiepileptic medicine. In this case, the risk of developing congenital pathologies increases many times.

After birth of the baby, the issue of the possibility of breastfeeding becomes relevant. As to it, physicians have no consensus – it all depends on the type of medicines taken by the woman. Those that bind to blood proteins ALMOST do not pass into breast milk. If the medicines of a different type of action are taken, breastfeeding is not recommended. This aspect needs to be considered at the stage of pregnancy planning and discussed with the attending physician.

The main problem of pregnancy with epilepsy is the inability to completely exclude the effect of medicines on the unborn child. In this situation, carrying a child by a surrogate mother is the only way to save the biological mother and her child from the risk of causing irreparable harm to health. In that case empowering mothers with epilepsy will lead to more confident and successful experiences.

The stories of happy motherhood and birth of healthy children, despite the diagnosis, are of particular importance to the Feskov Human Reproduction Group. Our surrogate mothers have an extensive experience in helping women who did not dare to endanger the health of their unborn child and their own health. Using PGD (preimplantation genetic Diagnostics), our fertility specialists obtain healthy embryos in order to guarantee the safety of our clients' sons or daughters in relation to the risk of inheriting epilepsy. The future parents who are interested in our capabilities can learn about surrogate motherhood programs on our website. Ask our consultant a question and get the complete information about the possibility of becoming a parent of a guaranteed healthy child without risk to the expectant mother.

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