ZocdocAnswers"If two people with OCD and Major Depression have kids, what is the possibility their children will have OCD and Major Depression as well?"

Question

"If two people with OCD and Major Depression have kids, what is the possibility their children will have OCD and Major Depression as well?"

My partner and I are considering having a child, but we want to know the chances that our child will have the same mental illnesses we have. She and I are both diagnosed and being treated for major depression and obsessive compulsive disoder. What is the likelihood our child would have either of these problems?

Answer

This is a question that will likely have a definitive answer in about 20-30 years. As of right now, we have incomplete information on the inheritance of mental disorders such as OCD and major depression. OCD and Major depression are syndromes that have both genetic and environmental components that combine together to determine a persons risk. Since there is no single gene or inheritance pattern with either disorder in most patients, it is not possible to calculate a likelihood with the information we have now. I can say that your children will have a higher likelihood of developing these disease than the average person. My suggestion is that you consult with a medical geneticist after you become pregnant. You can get a referral from your OBGYN or just schedule an appointment directly if you can. He or she will be able to do a full analysis of your family history and give you a better sense of what your children will be at risk for. As you child grows, make sure that his or her pediatrician is aware of your family history so that there is a lower threshold to begin treatment if symptoms are suspected. The last piece of advice is for you to avoid any of the new commercially available genetic testing systems that are out there. Our technology today is not advanced enough to give you any reasonable level of accuracy.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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