Re: Genetic Predisposition to Autism- wondering about different options for having kids
Kyethra - congratulations on your engagement! What an exciting time in your life! As for the genetic counseling, its a great idea for many newlyweds and I ditto that recommendation.
As I have read posts from long term members, the various articles out there, the info on the key autism sites, info on preemie sites, and some medical publications, it seems there are three basic "camps" on the provenance of autism. I may be wrong in clumping the theories into buckets, so someone jump in and help!
2. mercury in immunizations/other "accidental" toxins (& resultant immunity problems)
3. problems with the pregnancy or delivery
These three sets of ideas can intertwine quite a bit.
If you combine genetics & mercury, you can call genetics the gun and mercury the trigger (somebody just made that analogy earlier this week...good wording). The genetic predisposition needs a catalyst to kick in the autism.
If you combine genetics and obstetric problems, then you get autism or other variants running down the mother's side of the family because she's got placental problems, etc. Consider that both you and your brother were early-birds.
If you combine obstetric problems with either mercury or very strong drugs often used to save fragile babies, you get a child who is fine genetically but the fetal environent & subsequent life-saving drugs knocked the kid on his fanny with autism.
Some people assume that genetics MUST play a role because so many males have autism. Probably so, but most people do not know that when it comes to saving fragile babies, they survive and thrive in this order: black females, white females, black males, white males. For some reason, I guess related to our genes, little white boys are wimpy as babies. My white, PDD-NOS 5yr old son was 14 weeks premature, 1 pound 5 ounces...no CP, thankfully.
Anyway, here's the absolute worst scenario...sorry, but you need to get yourself organized before going to see a geneticist. If your mom had preemies, then you might have an obstetric problem when pregnant. If your dad has some autistic-like characteristics, your child might be more predisposed to them. If its a mercury or other toxin issue, then IF you have no genetic "gun" and IF your baby is full term, awesome easy delivery, then all you have to worry about is giving your baby his/her shots. Your child shouldn't need steroid shots or surfactant, etc if s/he's healthy at birth.
Lastly, they have taken the thimerisol out of some of the shots, so by the time you pop those little bambinos, this may be a non-issue. They also have combined some of the shots, so your kid gets 3 innoculations but with only 1 dose of preservative. We gave our 2 1/2yr old son all the immunizations out there, fully well knowing his big brother was PDD-NOS. I'm choosing to believe his prematurity/illness/drugs was the trifecta culprit.
Sorry for the dissertation, but if you and your fiancee are wondering about these things, you might want consider all three of these aspects, not just genetics. The counselor will be sure to be millions of times more well informed than me! Best of luck and congratulations again.