Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary genetic disorder primarily affecting the lungs and the digestive system. It is caused by a malfunction of the mucus producing glands. Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal inherited disease affecting young Canadians. More than 3,000 people in Canada have CF and about 1 in 25 Canadians is a carrier of a defective version of the gene responsible for Cystic Fibrosis. Every year, one in every 3,300* children born in Canada is diagnosed with the disease.

Symptoms

Cystic Fibrosis causes a build-up of thick mucus in the lungs leading to severe respiratory problems. Moreover, mucus and protein build-up in the digestive tract results in extreme difficulty in digesting and absorbing adequate nutrients from food. The effects of CF are most devastating in the lungs and the majority of people with CF will die from complications brought on by lung disease.

Fertility & Cystic Fibrosis

As Cystic Fibrosis can affect mucus viscosity, fertility may also be compromised. In women with the disease, the fluidity of vaginal secretions varies because the mucus is often thicker. This makes it more difficult for the sperm to travel and for fertilization to occur. Therefore, it often takes longer for women with Cystic Fibrosis to become pregnant. Regrettably for men, in most cases, Cystic Fibrosis leads to infertility (not to sterility). Sperm cell production is normal, the problem occurs in the testicle, where a blockage or absence of the vas deferens may make the passage of sperm impossible. When the overall health of a person with CF allows, one can consult a fertility specialist and look into the use of the medically assisted procreation techniques.

A Test to Gain Knowledge

The genes associated with Cystic Fibrosis are known and genetic screening tests can determine your carrier status. At this time, only those individuals who already have a known case in their family or their partner is known to be a carrier can turn to the Canadian Public Health system for screening. However, it is possible to get this genetic screening test performed at Procrea Fertility to find out your carrier status.

*SOGC, 2002