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Should I Adopt Because I Have IBD?

I’m a new mom. My son is eight months old. I also have battled Crohn’s disease for more than 12 years. Luckily, thanks to surgical remission, I was able to have a flawless pregnancy and my son was born perfectly healthy. I chose to stay on my biologic, along with other medication and supplements throughout my pregnancy. I recently wrote an article about how my son inspires me to be strong and how chronic illness plays a role in motherhood each day.

A woman who also battles Crohn’s left a comment that stuck with me.

She passed along IBD to her child and said she wishes she would have just adopted and that people should go that route if they have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. While I can’t fathom how difficult it would be to see your own child inherit this disease, I also think that’s a pretty broad statement to make to the public. It made my heart hurt for her and her daughter.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, if one parent has Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, there’s a 7 to 9 percent chance of passing inflammatory bowel disease on to offspring. To me, that risk seems minimal. It doesn’t seem as though one should prevent themselves from having a family if that is their hope and dream. Sure adoption is great and there are so many children who need loving families. But, please don’t let this disease rob you of experiencing pregnancy and motherhood with your own offspring, because you fear your child will also inherit IBD one day as well.

Motherhood with chronic illness is not always a walk in the park, but let’s be honest…parenting is hard work!

It’s the toughest “job” I’ve ever had. I love every minute of it, but you never get a break and there’s no such thing as a “sick day.” If anything, it’s a distraction from your disease because you’re so busy taking care of another life you tend not to think much of your own! That can be a blessing and a curse.

As I think about my future children, my son and those who haven’t been born yet, I hope and pray they won’t be diagnosed with IBD, but I am hopeful they’ll be in the clear. My family has no history of IBD, I was just one of the “chosen ones.” If a child does end up having IBD, at least they have a “pro” in their corner- someone who is educated on the disease and knows so much about it.

I connected with many women throughout my pregnancy and since my son was born who are apprehensive about taking the plunge into parenthood and those who wonder whether their bodies are capable of carrying a child. Talk to your doctor. Be methodical with your planning (ie. if your disease is in a calm state, it’s go time!) and be confident in the fact that despite having a chronic illness, chances are if there’s a will there’s a way for you to bring a baby into this world.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    10 months ago

    I agree. Although there is a risk for your child to have IBD, that risk is so minimal. If you want to have your own child, I say go for it!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • DebbieLynn
    2 years ago

    Although it is probably rare, we adopted domestically and our daughter was diagnosed with UC at age 14. Her birth family has no history of IBD from what they have told us.

  • Lisa
    2 years ago

    Very good story. I do not have children. (I made that choice in my 20’s long before I was diagnosed with crohns disease.) Adoption is absolutely great if that is someone’s choice. I do agree 100% that if anyone wants to try to have their own child, that experience, (as you stated), is worth it with the minimal risk studies. God Bless all of you.

  • Natalie Hayden moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much for the kind words and thoughtful response to my article, Lisa! Means a a lot. Wishing you many feel good days.

  • Lisa
    2 years ago

    Thank you Natalie

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