People with a known family history of Huntington's disease are understandably concerned about whether they may pass the Huntington gene on to their children. These people may consider genetic testing and family planning options.
If an at-risk parent is considering genetic testing, it can be helpful to meet with a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor will discuss the potential risks of a positive test result, which would indicate the parent will develop the disease. Also, couples will need to make additional choices about whether to have children or to consider alternatives, such as prenatal testing for the gene or in vitro fertilization with donor sperm or eggs.
Another option for couples is in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. In this process, eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilized with the father's sperm in a laboratory. The embryos are tested for presence of the Huntington gene, and only those testing negative for the Huntington gene are implanted in the mother's uterus.
Jul. 24, 2014
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 27, 2014.
- Tabrizi SJ, et al. Predictors of phenotypic progression and disease onset in premanifest and early-stage Huntington's disease in the TRACK-HD study: Analysis of 36-month observational data. The Lancet. 2013;12:637.
- Huntington's disease: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/huntington/huntington.htm. Accessed Jan. 27, 2014.
- Suchowersky O. Huntington disease: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 27, 2014.
- Huntington disease. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/movement_and_cerebellar_disorders/huntington_disease.html. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Huntington's disease: A family guide. Huntington's Disease Society of America. http://www.hdsa.org/living-with-huntingtons/publications/index.html. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Novak MJ, et al. Huntington's disease. British Medical Journal. 2010;340:c3109.
- Suchowersky O. Huntington disease: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Bower JH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 5, 2014.
- Knopman DS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 5, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.