Should Diabetes Affect Your Decision to Have Kids / Adopt?

We ran an article this morning on Diabetes News Hound about family planning and diabetes. The author Kelsey Metcalf, one of our Expert Columnists, discussed her decision to adopt. You can read the column here: Expert: Why Diabetes Caused Me to Adopt

Im curious to hear if diabetes will or had impacted your decision to have children?


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Thanks for sharing and it was a great article! I enjoyed Kelsy Metcalf’s story =)

Oh, and I forgot to answer the question… it really depends on the person or couple.

While there are many complications and concerns regarding pregnant women with diabetes, I think it’s an experience (regardless of the risk factors) I want to have, and am glad my husband supports me on this. =)

This is getting a bit more personal than I usually do in an online community, but I want my own children. I want to feel the miracle of pregnancy and to see the resemblances of my husband’s face in our child’s eyes. I want to be surprised, yet comforted, when I notice that our child starts to have the same mannerisms as we each do, or how she reminds me so much of my grandmother.

I’ve wanted children since I was 10 years old. I’ve wanted a family for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed first generation Type 1 at age 14 (12 years ago now almost) and I struggled for years to subside the “mother urges” because I had read and had heard from so many sources that Type 1s could NOT have children. I mourned my “dream future” for years.

Then, about 5 years ago, I participated in a Joslin Diabetes Center Research Study in Boston MA about Type 1s and pregnancies. While I was there, I burst into tears of relief when they told me that I certainly could have my own children. They had to stop the class while I composed myself because my heart had been broken about it for years. The other Type 1s in the class (some were “currently” pregnant) comforted me that they, too, were told that they could not bear children.

Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston is in the Top Diabetes Research centers in the world. I’m going to trust their judgement, take care of my body, and take control while we try for kids of our own. We are not quite ready emotionally or financially to have children yet, but when that time comes, I’m going to be ready and waiting for our baby (each piece of us who created her) to be placed into my arms.

I’m 25 years old now, and studies show that if the parents are Type 1, if they wait until after their 25th birthday to have children, the odds of the child contracting Type 1 are cut down from 25% to 4%. Honestly, the odds of ME contracting Type 1 12 years ago were 0% (as it doesn’t run in my family), so I’m just going to have to play the hand I’m given when the time comes. Because no matter what, we don’t know the TRUE cause of Type 1. We don’t KNOW if it’s genetic or environmental. Like me, with no family history of autoimmune diseases, maybe it’s just the location on the planet from which I’m residing? I can’t substantiate claims that my child will have Type 1 just because I do, when I contracted the disease all on my own.

As far as the risk to my own health while pregnant, I will do whatever it takes to bring a child into this world, safe, happy, healthy.

Adoption is a beautiful act. I would consider it for myself if we turned out to be unable to have children. But, Type 1 is NOT going to hold me back from the ONE thing that I’ve wanted for my whole life. I’ve wanted to be a mother BEFORE I contracted Type 1. And I’m going to try as hard as I can to make my own dreams come true.
I deserve that.

I think this is a very personal decision, and every woman has a right to try or want for a child… I don’t think Diabetes is such a disease that should keep a person from having children, especially if they take great care of themselves, or do whatever is possible to keep the healthiest possible pregnancy. It’s a wonderful thing to shoot for. I do, however, think it’s incredibly irresponsible to go having kids, if a person absolutely does NOTHING to care for themselves, and are completely out of control… We need to do the right things to make sure both mother and child are healthy during the pregnancy as much as it’s possible… (I tend to feel it’s kind of irresponsible to commit to a marriage, to anyone, if we don’t take care of our chronic conditions AT ALL, or don’t care… much less having children, or adopting children… But that is my personal view, and people have their own world view… and that will differ. People have the right to make decisions, even if they are bad decisions.)

Aw, thank you. That is the best compliment that I can hope to receive from anyone. :slight_smile:

F@#$ sugar magnolia’s. man do i hate that movie.

Think it’s great when folks adopt kids and actually think hard about having kids

I want you to look closely at my photo. You may think that with these ears, I should have adopted my kids. But I look at life as though the glass is half full. We will always worry about our children. Yes, I did have some basic tests on my kids to check to see if they had some common genetic defects. I don’t know what I would have done if the test had been positive. But you know, my kids still did not turn out perfect, and neither of them has diabetes (yet). In the end, if you decline to have biological children of your own, you also rule out the possibility that your biological child will make the world a better place (even if they do get diabetes). Having kids is a very personal decision, but you really need to look around and think about the people that you know about who have had chronic disease or disabilities and despite that left the world a much better place. Think about it, Thomas Edison, Mary Tyler Moore, H.G. Wells or even Stephen Hawking.

Besides, swapping some limited knowledge about risks for an adopted child with unknown risks may simply be choosing fully unknown for mostly unknown. Any parent will tell you, having a child involves risks and outcomes that you can never anticipate. However things come out, you can either celebrated the good in the world or moan about the bad. You can tell what I say:

What Me Worry?


Yup. That’s what I was in part saying too. Who’s to know if your adopted child might come down with diabetes too? It’s all totally unknown. Just because your family does or does not have a history of the disease doesn’t meant that your children will. My parents certainly didn’t plan on having a Type 1 kid. But… I’m surviving each and every day and in the end, hope that I have made the world a better place. Maybe despite having diabetes, maybe BECAUSE OF having diabetes.

Marps, well said!!