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Dear expert team,

I have a daughter with cystic fibrosis and now I read that her fertility is clearly reduced to 20 % in comparison to healthy women. Does that mean that she only has a chance of 20 % to become pregnant or is the chance reduced by 20 %?

Thank you for your answer in advance.

Dear questioner,

Publications from the early nineties show that the fertility (the quality or state of being fertile) of women suffering from cystic fibrosis is supposed to be reduced by up to 80 %. In other words this means, as you describe it, that the fertility of CF women is reduced to about 20 % in comparison with healthy women.

Available data collected in 2005 regarding pregnancies of CF women seem to show a prevalence (frequency) of 40/1000 of menstruating women (>16 years) (normal 80/1000).

Reasons for the reduced fertility:
As you surely know patients with CF have thickened mucus in the bronchi (very viscous bronchial mucus is produced). The increased viscosity also affects the cervical mucus (in the cervix). Therefore, the agility of sperms is reduced and the fertilization of the mature ovum is inhibited. Furthermore, the ovulation frequency (the monthly maturing of the ovum) is also reduced in CF patients. If a CF woman becomes pregnant as well as carrying a child to term always depends on the general condition, the weight and the lung function. Generally speaking, CF women with a good lung function and a good weight have less problems in fulfilling their desire for having a child.

I hope that I have answered your question in a satisfactory way and wish you and your daughter a lot of health and joy for the new year 2008.

Dr. C. Smaczny