Type 1 and potential fatherhood

Hi everyone,

My husband has Type 1. He developed it late, after we had started dating, when he was 22. I’m now 40 (how did that happen?) and would really like to have a child before it’s too late. We’ve considered adoption and fostering, and those things aren’t possible or don’t seem like the right choice for us. However, my husband is very worried that if we have a child of our own, our child will develop Type 1 and he will feel very guilty. I’ve told him that statistically there is a less than 6% chance that his biological child will develop it, but that has not reassured him. Anyone else experienced this situation?

Hi @emkris, I believe that your husband’s “fears” are unfounded - he may be thinking about some of the other five conditions, not TypeOne that share the common symptom - diabetes mellites.

It is a well documented fact that fewer than 10% of people diagnosed with TypeOne have a first degree relative with TypeOne. I’ve had diabetes for more than 60 years and have children and grandchildren ranging in age from 12 to 51 and none have diabetes and do not show signs of developing diabetes - yes, they are all tested periodically by their doctors.

Do you want help picking names for your kids?

Thanks, Dennis. Maybe your experience and the fact you pointed out will make him feel better about it. And perhaps if it’s a boy, we’ll name him Dennis;)

@emkris hi. yes I agree with your and @Dennis risk analysis. I want to add that this may not be the only thing going on here. I was 44 when we had our son, I know the statistics of genetically passing t1 to my son are low but it does concern me, to the point of anxiety sometimes.

I suppose that having a child is a huge deal. For me, I originally thought it was because of “responsibility”, and if that was it, it was easy to dismiss because heck I’ve been and continue to be responsible to all of my commitments… so that should be easy too! That was not the huge deal at all. the huge deal was the vulnerability that having someone so precious and helpless in your life brings you, and it can make you feel weak to any and all things that can happen. for a guy, that line of thinking may make you shy away, as it may be too much to lose, too big a risk,

it’s probably time to find out if the fear is about diabetes, or if it’s about something else entirely. better know now than later. a long and grown-up talk may be in order…

It took a lot of thinking to not freak out in a cold sweat over the though of something happening to my son. For the diabetes thing I have come to this conclusion: if this terrible thing happens to him, then who better in the entire world than me could step up and help him deal with it? I always believe, when it comes to my son, that avoiding risks are the preferred way… however if it comes down to war, then without hesitation I’ll put my back against his and take on the entire world if necessary.

there are risks in everything we do and experience in this world. if we shy away from them all then we are probably exposed to less risk, but also then the experiences of life diminish. looking back there is nothing I’d rather be doing or have done. I am honored and privileged to have this experience, no matter where it takes me.

To put it another way, you gotta want it, and if you want it you gotta go all in.

good luck.

Thanks for your insights, Joe.

Perhaps men do have a tendency to shy away from the vulnerability that becoming a parent brings, more than women might. I know he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be “successful” and to not “let other people down.” We have both had reservations about having a child, but I know I’m finally ready. I’m sure that part of what has caused me to overcome my hesitations is the biological imperative that I’m now feeling as a 40-year-old-woman, which I’m sure he is not experiencing as a 39-year-old man.

I think that his worry about diabetes is his last major reservation, though. We’ve been trying to get some advice about it from his endocrinologist, and he has been eager to do that. We have talked about parenting for years, but have only seriously begun considering having our own child recently, as I realized that fostering and adoption were not the right choices for us, like I thought they might be.

I feel the same way that you do about the possibility that our child might develop Type 1. At least we will know how to manage the disease, and I’ve seen the strides in care and the growing hope for a cure in the last twenty years. As much of a toll as it takes, I know that someone with Type 1 can still look after themselves and have a full life. I’m actually more concerned about the chances that our child would have Down’s Syndrome, because I would worry what would happen to them when we become old and pass away.

For me, I know it’s now or never, and I don’t want it to be never. I don’t think he’s experiencing that stark choice, yet, though, except that I’ve been trying to explain that’s how it is for us, as a couple.

I’m a type 1 diabetic and have had 2 children. Both are healthy, free of diabetes, and we couldn’t be more blessed.
Ask your husband, is it the diabetes or he doesn’t want kids? Yes it would be unfortunate if you had a child who became diabetic but there are a lot worse diseases and mental health issues that a child can experience. If you feel strongly about having a child do it!!

Hi Emkris,

I developed type 1 at 32 and woke after DKA and a spell in intensive care (are slipping into a coma in Scotland) - to find my then eight month old son playing on my hospital bed. He is now has four siblings, youngest age 21 and all healthy with none (yet) diagnosed with type 1. Being a parent is an experience not to be missed - so very best of luck and enjoy!


I was diagnosed in 1945 when I was 6. I was married in 1964, We had two sons in 1966 and 1969. Our sons do not have diabetes. I have four relatives with type 2, but no relatives with type 1. Type 1 is not usually passed with the genes. I had measles, mumps and chickenpox when I was 5. My diabetes symptoms started while I was recovering from those diseases. In hundreds of reports I have read in online support groups, type 1 has occurred when there were no parent, sibling, or a relative with type 1. I do not think type 1 is at all likely because of a genetic connection.
I have been type 1 for 73 years, and I do not have any diabetes complications except some neuropathy in my feet and legs.

My ex husband is type 1. We had 2 boys now 24 and 30 neither of them have diabeties. I have been remarried for 12 years our daughter who is 11 was just diagnosed this Januarary with type 1. Neither of us have diabeties nor does it run on either side of our families. Hers was viral. From my understanding everyone Carrie’s the gene it’s just a matter of whether it comes out or not. Hope this helps.