Q. What is the chance of passing the structural birth defect in my hand to next generation?

Answered by
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 18, 2020

Hello doctor,

I was born with a structural birth defect where my left hand is completely deformed. My left arm is normal from the wrist and above. I would like to know if this defect is hereditary if I try to have a child. What are the risk for me as a father passing any defects to my future children?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I can understand your concern. It will be of great help if you can send me the picture of your deformity.

I will be happy to help you further.

Thank you doctor,

I have attached four pictures of my left hand from different angles.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I can understand your concern. I have seen all the attachments. (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

You are mostly having phocomelia. It is an underdeveloped or maldeveloped hand. This can be unilateral or bilateral. And honestly speaking, phocomelia and its hereditary cause is not 100% proven. Some reports say it is hereditary and some say it is iatrogenic.

May I know, do you have any family members with the same deformity? Is your wife or wife's family members having any deformity?

Please reply to the above asked questions, so that I can guide you better.

Thank you doctor,

The answer to both of the questions is no. I do not have any family members with any deformity. Also, my wife and her family do not have deformities. My father told me that my mother's doctor (when she was pregnant with me) informed them that this deformity is a result of an x-ray my mother took without knowing that she is pregnant. I could not manage to get more information in this regard since this happened a long time ago.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

So, I do not think any hereditary risk in your case. And by any chance, if it is there in your baby (negligible chance), it can be easily picked up by antenatal ultrasound. So you can plan accordingly whether to terminate or continue with the pregnancy.

I hope this helps.

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