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  1. #1
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    Default Autism and Schizophrenia risk

    My wife and I had an unplanned pregnancy. We're about 5 weeks into it now. We are torn between going ahead and terminating. We already have two normal children. One is 9 and the other 3 years old. Both my wife and I are 39 years old, and we're of Asian heritage.
    There are some studies suggesting autism & schizophrenia risk increases with paternal age. https://www.nature.com/articles/mp201570
    I suppose our risk is lower the general population (1 out of 150) since we already have 2 kids with no autism spectrum but the paternal age factor worries me a bit. I am very risk averse.
    I'm not sure if we are strong enough if we do end up with an autistic child, and I can't imagine how unfair it is for our two kids. There are other minor 'concerns', i.e. i) the first two years of birth is always the most work and we need to go through that again, ii) we travel overseas 2-3 times a year and the extra headcount will make a difference in terms of plane, taxi, hotels, etc.
    That's the brutally rational side of me thinking. On the other hand, I am torn and longing to meet the new baby. I like the idea of a bigger family and for my kids to look after each other when they grow up.
    Any views appreciated....

  2. #2
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    I had my 3rd at 38. No problems here.

    He is the best thing that happened to us and we cannot imagine life without him, even though dh was very hesitant to have a 3rd. We also travel interstate once a month and OS at least once a year. You just do it and it’s great.

  3. #3
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    It's a very personal choice. I understand your concerns, but at this stage it's all just stats. There's nothing to indicate that your child would have either of these disorders, and of course the majority of children born to 39 year olds are perfectly fine. If it was me, I wouldn't base my decision on the stats (if they're even valid, reliable, peer reviewed studies - my hands are full with bubs and it's 3.30am so to be fair I didn't go and read them).

    And looking at it from a brutally rational perspective, either or both of your children could already have schizophrenia and you wouldn't know because symptoms don't typically present themselves until later in life. If they did, you'd still love them the same and you'd figure it out like every other family does when they're thrown a curveball.

    I think you're just freaking out because you're a planner, and this pregnancy wasn't in your plans. Maybe you're looking for reasons not to go ahead with it because you're simply anxious. I'd suggest forgetting the stats and numbers, because the odds are still in your favour for a perfectly healthy child, and think about what your family would be like with another child and whether it is something that is likely to increase the happiness in your lives. The rest is all just what-ifs.

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  5. #4
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    Default Autism and Schizophrenia risk

    There are other options to terminating the pregnancy, such as adopting them out to a loving family who are unable to conceive.

    Last year in Victoria Australia only 13 babies were adopted but countless (thousands upon thousands) were terminated. [text deleted by Moderator] I don't mean to be hysterical but a baby can feel pain Also the child's heart is beating very very early in the pregnancy and is not a blob of cells)

    For arguments sake you could carry the child to term, and if he or she is not to the standard of your other children then adopt him/her out.

    Autism and schizophrenia aren't always such disabilities the child can't have a "normal" life. I have a close friend in his late 40s who is on the autism spectrum, he has a child and a very successful career and is a manager in a speciality not many people can do. He has an amazing IQ, very creative, focused and driven, and has learnt to improve social skills. He was not diagnosed until his 40s because it didn't "show" as the stereotype of Austism many people have in their head.

    I also know someone in his 40s with schizophrenia. He does need medication and sees a therapist bi-monthly however he is able to function. He's a little intense (could just be his personality too) however he is a book author.

    I'm just trying to point out, sometimes it's not so bad to have a child with a diagnosis of either of those conditions and sometimes they are so mild it's not detected until they investigate themselves in their late 30s or 40s and have otherwise a very normal life, or better!

    Another what-if is something crazy like 70% of pregnancies (including some so early they may be undetected and termed chemical) self "terminate" aka miscarriage. It's still early, so anything could happen.
    Last edited by Mod-Uniquey; 12-03-2018 at 11:03. Reason: Please don't use non-sensitive language

  6. #5
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    My husband and I always said we’d start with one. Lol. Ended up with twins first go. I’m with you on the brutally rational side. We have spoken about trying for one more down the track (because I’d love to just spend time with ONE baby - bliss) but have decided against it because we’d need two bigger cars, a bigger house, ‘typical’ family packages don’t suit, travelling would be out of the question etc. But we decided this without me being pregnant. It would be completely different if I was already pregnant as I don’t think I could terminate. I don’t think anyone on here can really rationalise with you because it’s a very emotional decision that you and your spouse need to have. Good luck to you OP

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  8. #6
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    When looking at the risk factors from the study you provided, I'd advise you to look most closely under the 'discussion' rather than the overall conclusion of what the data represents. Here there is more in depth looking at other potential co-factors that could be creating the link between parental age and ASD.

    For example, and I'll paraphrase, they say that there is an increase in poor social skills (shyness etc) of older parents of children with ASD, which could have caused them to partner up later, hence not have babies until later. So these parents may be borderline ASD themselves, which has contributed to their later in life parenting.

    Generally from the study presented, they have determined a definite correlation but definitely not causality.

    As an aside, the study looked very legit but I'm a bit miffed as to why they have listed "Western Australia" as a country.

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    Gensden (13-03-2018),JustJaq (12-03-2018),Shellosaurus (13-03-2018)

  10. #7
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    I don't look too much into these so called studies. I had my first boy at aged 33, 36 and 39. My hubby is older than I am. None of our boys have issues.

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