Dean Cruikshank

Female Fertility

Women with CF have a normal reproductive tract and sexual function. A small number of women with CF sometimes have difficulty getting pregnant because of thick sticky mucus (similar to what happens in the lungs) accumulating in the opening of the uterus (called the cervix). This thick layer makes it harder for sperm to penetrate when women ovulate (release their egg). In addition, irregular menstrual periods can make it harder to get pregnant. If you are considering planning a family it is important to tell your CF team in advance to set up a meeting with a genetic counsellor and to review important health information that you need to know when getting pregnant. Even though a small number of women with CF may have difficulty getting pregnant, it is strongly recommended that women who are, or plan to become, sexually active should practice birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

All CF pregnancies should be planned. The couple starts this journey by having her partrner tested for CF carrier status. If her partner is not a carrier of a CF gene, any children they have will be CF carriers but will not have the disease. If the partner is a carrier for one CF mutation, then there is a 50/50 chance that their child will have CF.

Experience taught us that planned pregnancy is the key in having a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. It is generally accepted that the criteria for successful pregnancy include stable lung function at a minimum of approximately 50% (FEV1) and a health body mass index (healthy weight for the individual) between 20 to 25 over 6 month time.

With increased life expectancy, we are seeing more people with CF developing CF related diabetes. For a woman with CF and CF related diabetes, it is also important to make sure that her diabetes control is good for 6 months prior to trying to become pregnancy. Signs of having good diabetes control include daily blood sugars fall within normal target and a HBA1c (glycated hemoglobin) of 6 to 6.5%.

Although it sounds like a lot to do prior to getting pregnant we are here to help you! Talk to your CF team i.e. doctors, nurse practitioner, dietitian and so on.

For more informaton, feel free to contact our CF team to book an appointment for education and counselling.