Obstetric Care

Cystic Fibrosis Prenatal Screening

What is cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that primarily affects Caucasians. Approximately 1 in 2,500 Caucasians are born with the disease. Cystic fibrosis causes breathing problems, lung infections, difficulty absorbing some types of foods, and infertility. Symptoms can be mild in some people and life-threatening in others. The average person with cystic fibrosis can live into their thirties.

Risk of being a cystic fibrosis carrier

There are hundreds of mutations of the cystic fibrosis gene. A person can be a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene but not have the disease themselves. Caucasians have a 1/29 chance of being a cystic fibrosis carrier, Ashkenazi Jews have a 1/29 chance, Hispanic Americans have a 1/46 chance, and African Americans have a 1/65 chance. If you have a family history of cystic fibrosis, your risk may be higher regardless of your ancestry. If both parents are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, there is a 25% chance that their baby will have cystic fibrosis.

Testing for cystic fibrosis gene

There are tests available to determine your cystic fibrosis status, which can be given at your initial OB appointment or after. If the mother’s test results are negative, the father is generally not tested. If both partners are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, prenatal testing is available to determine if the fetus has cystic fibrosis.

Please check with your insurance company for coverage of the tests. This is the patient’s responsibility. Check out LabCorp’s cost estimator for prenatal and pregnancy testing.