Should people with scoliosis think twice about having kids?

blinkie please let me apologize for this hijack and welcome you back - nice to hear that you’re doing well.

Nawth Chucka - could you clarify your post regarding scoliosis a bit? For clarity, I fully respect your choice to be child-free, for pretty much any reason you like, and I’m not even remotely offended that scoliosis is the reason that you give; however, I am rather confused.

I have scoliosis. Quite pronounced. The effect of this on my life has been so minimal as to be basically non-existent. When I decided to have a child the fact that I have it, my mom has it and my grandmother had it didn’t even enter my mind. It’s such a non-factor in my day to day life, I usually forget I have it.

So - is your particular condition very severe? Do you have a disability from the condition? As I said, I totally respect your decision to be child free for this reason or for no reason at all but as a fellow ‘sufferer’ of scoliosis I’m not sure why it would be the deciding factor.

Again blinkie sorry for the hijack.

This was originally in blinkie’s Locked-In Syndrome thread. With alice_in_wonderland’s permission, I moved it to a new thread.

Absolutely yes. Because everybody should think twice about having kids. The law should require thinking at least 100 times, passing a test, and placing at least $100,000 into escrow. Why should people with scoliosis be any different?

I’ve known various people to give varying reasons as to why they don’t want to have kids. The few I’ve known personally, well…those weren’t the reasons. They were just seemingly ‘acceptable’ reasons, because society tends to treat those who choose not to have children as being biologically wrong. Which is silly. But that’s how it is, so people get defensive, or even feel guilty, for not wanting children. And some use any reason at all not to have them, as long as it gets people to stop asking them WHY they don’t want kids. Who gives a shit? It’s personal.

This post is entirely my own experiences, and has nothing to do with the original question being asked. I absolutely do not discount people who have their own reasons for not wanting kids, because, again, it’s personal. I just feel bad for anyone having to explain it even once, much less defend it over and over.

Yah, so the title isn’t exactly what I was asking - I was really just curious about why scoliosis would be a detriment to having children. I mean, I have it. It’s not so bad.

I have an aunt and uncle who are child-free because she had two brother’s die of haemophelia - that decision doesn’t even make a blip on the WTF radar, but scoliosis seems like such a…strange reason. Like deciding to not have kids because you get excema (which I also have) - yah, it’s a drag, but it’s not like it’s going to kill you.

My father has ankylosing spondylitis and mum says if she’d known that back when they were first married, she wouldn’t have had kids. It’s one of mum’s many WTF opinions, and is probably more about her state of mind than anything, but it does leave me scratching my head. Dad doesn’t wish he had never been born or that he was dead. It sucks that he has it but he’s cheerfully going about his life; he still works, has hobbies, is fitter and healthier than she is. She would retroactively deny us existence because there’s a 50% chance we could inherit a gene that 20% of the time causes a condition that doesn’t make my father wish he was dead.

That’s my criteria: if it doesn’t make you wish you were never born, our that you were dead, and it is not fatal, is there any need to avoid passing it on?


I didn’t have children for twenty years because my scoliosis has caused severe and crippling pain and disability for most of my life and I did not want to force a child to endure the pain, loss of mobility, deformity or endure the surgeries I have had. I am also intolerant to narcotics and have had no method of relieving pain due to frequent injuries. And as an athlete born into an athletic family I had to give up dancing at nineteen, running at 29, and golf: ha. My swing just… isn’t.

But last year I underwent a series of tests and genetic counseling that proved my scoliosis is due to spina bifida occulta, most likely due to fetal injury. My mother was in a bad car accident during her first trimester and lay in a coma for two weeks. A diagnosis of “idiopathic” is no guarantee that my child will be free of the disease which ranges from mild to crippling, but it gave me the reassurance I needed to try for the child I had ached for since turning 30. I’m hypervigiliant with my diet as a breastfeeding mom, careful to get all the calcium I can stomach and my little one gets her daily vitamin D in the morning sun as I nurse her, and I will probably watch her diet closely, too, hoping for strong bones. But her father is a thick, beefy, muscular man of German stock, and my fingers are crossed that his sturdy genes beat my tall, skinny ones.
TLDR: yes. Scoliosis kept me from having a child until medical technology persuaded me that I might have a strong child with a straight, healthy spine.

Any condition that significantly reduces quality of life (and scoliosis [which I have] *usually *does not, and “significantly” is obviously very open to interpretation) and that your children are reasonably likely to inherit (and I wouldn’t even begin to try to decide what would qualify as “reasonably likely”) should make you think twice about having kids.

I think most people have at least a couple conditions like this in their DNA. There are extreme exceptions, of course, but most people just have to weight the risks for themselves and whatever they come up with is okay with me.

My cousin has scoliosis and didn’t even know it until he was about 30. It’s not something you want to have, but it’s just no big deal. He has two beautiful children. I don’t know if they have scoliosis, but they are very happy.

The world is plagued with many a genetic disorder that seriously impairs a person’s life. Scoliosis, for the most part, does not.

Upon rereading the OP: if my mother and grandmother had also shown signs of scoliosis, I most definitely would not have had a child or bothered with genetic counseling. Over the years I’ve seen numerous patients at my doc’s office who experience little or no pain and restriction of movement, but my version of the disease has been debilitating. This disease has in many ways restricted my life and prevented me from doing so many things I wanted to do, and I’ve spent far too many days in bed with pain and injuries the average person never copes with. If, like you, I suffered not at all from the disease, I might have had children much earlier in life. The presence of the same deformity in my immediate family would have concerned me, but I probably would have had children.

I think the OP points to an interesting dilemma.

There are a ton of inheritable disorders out there. Some of them really disabling and some of them very minor. Most that can vary in severity depending other genes and the environment.

If I have asthma and find out that’s inheritable, should I have second thoughts about having kids? People can die from asthma attacks. It can limit someone in terms of their athleteticism (sp?). But most people with it live long productive lives.

If I have a family history of severe mental illness, should I have second thoughts? This isn’t a hypothetical in my case, but I don’t want children so the question is moot. But what about my siblings? Should they think twice?

At what point does one become a thoughtless bastard by passing on their genes?

The effects of pregnancy on patients who have idiopathic scoliosis were investigated in terms of increased risk of progression of the curve. The charts, radiographs, and other pertinent data on 355 affected women who had reached skeletal maturity (Risser Grade 4) before 1975 were reviewed and analyzed. One hundred and seventy-five patients had had at least one pregnancy each (Group A) and 180 patients had never been pregnant (Group B). The groups were comparable with regard to the treatments that they had received. After skeletal maturity was reached, the curve progressed more than 5 degrees in 25 per cent and more than 10 degrees in 10 per cent of the patients in each group.

The age of the patient at the time of the first pregnancy did not influence the risk of progression, and the stability of the curve before pregnancy did not decrease the risk of its progression during pregnancy. In patients who had had a spinal fusion, progression in the unfused portion of the spine was negligible in both Group A and Group B. The presence of a pseudarthrosis did not result in progression of the curve during pregnancy. The effects of scoliosis on pregnancy and delivery were evaluated in the 175 women in Group A. No specific problems that were directly related to the scoliosis were noted except for four patients, in whom delivery posed difficulties. The incidence of cesarean section was one-half of the national average, and no sections were directly related to the mother’s scoliosis.

There are many women who have children with Scoliosis, generally there is a 25% risk, however, this is not set in stone, I know of a few people who have had for example 4 children and all of them have shown Scoliosis progression.

We used a donor to conceive our son because my husband has a hereditary form of rickets, which 1) quite a bit more debilitating than most cases of scoliosis (he had to have his legs surgically straightened, is 5’ tall, and is has on-going chronic pain and 2) is a dominant disorder so there was a 50% chance of our child having the disease. He never considered reproducing his own genes: his sisters have had their own kids and have passed on the disease. This troubles him. On the other hand, it was easy for us to use a donor. If a woman carries a bad gene, leaving her genetics out is a lot more complicated and expensive.

My wife has scoliosis, and the leading specialist (in Sydney Australia, where we live) recommended that she not have any more, after our first born in 1981. He said there was a significant risk of permanent damage and pain on the spine from any more pregnancies.

Well, she grew up as an only child, and had a pretty lonely childhood, so she didn’t take that advice … we had 6 more (btw, a LOT more that I was thinking of).

She (physically) was not hampered by this until her late 40’s. At the time of her first child, she had a 60° curve. For the last few years, she had breathlessness after walking up a hill, took Movalis daily as a muscle relaxant/anit-infammitory, and had a migrane-type headache for a day after being in a car that went over a speed-hump too quickly.

When she found out that there were surgeons that performed spinal fusions on the over-40s (the opposite of what she was told as a 20 y.o.), she had a new set of x-rays done, and her curve was 82°.

She had a spinal fusion done last February (titanium rods down either side of her thoracic vertebra), and first off, kinda had to learn her walking posture again, as her torso and shoulders were now in their correct positions, instead of being rotated and dipped/humped. The operation took out about 2/3 of the curve, more than we could have hoped for, or the surgeon expecting.

She has trouble bending over and picking up things from the floor, but she has her energy and lung capacity back, and now doesn’t need anit-inflammitories etc.

It is a major operation, but a routine one for the surgeons involved. We have been told in 12-18 months time, she will be as good as she was as a teenager.