Published for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology by Oxford University Press
Human Reproduction Update vol:19 issue:3 pages:304-15
BACKGROUNDHuntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative late onset disorder. This review of reproductive options aims to increase reproductive confidence and to prevent suffering in relation to family planning around HD and possibly other late onset neurodegenerative disorders.METHODSSelected relevant literature and own views and experiences as clinical geneticists, psychologists and ethicists have been used.RESULTSPossible options, with emphasis on prenatal diagnosis (PD) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent the transmission of HD to the next generation, are described and discussed. They are formally presented in a decision tree, taking into account the presence or absence of a fully penetrant allele (FPA), a reduced penetrant allele (RPA) or an intermediate allele (IA). A table compares invasive and non-invasive PD and PGD. From a psychological perspective, the complex process of counselling and decision-making regarding reproductive options is discussed. Special attention is paid to the decision to avoid the transmission of the mutation and to the confrontation and coping of a mutation-free child growing up with a parent developing disease symptoms. From an ethical point of view, reflections on both PD and PGD are brought forward taking into account the difference between FPA, RPA and IA, direct testing or exclusion testing and taking into account the welfare of the child in the context of medically assisted reproduction.CONCLUSIONRecommendations and suggestions for good clinical practice in the reproductive care for HD families are formulated.