Healthy Early Years
A parent’s guide from birth to five

Genetics awareness

Who is affected?

  • Families from all communities can be affected by genetic disorders.

  • We know more about genes today than we used to, so it's right that we have access to information and services if we need them.

  • There are many health problems associated with genes, but in infant health there is particular concern with problems caused by recessive genes.

  • Common examples of these types of conditions include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, thalassaemia and some neurological and metabolic diseases.

  • For conditions caused by recessive genes, the risk is higher in families with a marriage to a close relative, eg: a cousin, as it's more likely they both carry the same gene.

  • It's important to note that most children born to cousins are healthy and unaffected but babies born to parents who have the same recessive gene are at a higher risk of being born with an inherited health problem.

  • A genetic counsellor will be able to give a more rounded picture about your risk of genetic problems and what your choices are around this.

  • Genetics affect us all, the more we understand the issues and the risks, the more we will be able to make informed choices.

Genetic tests