Marta Cifuentes Ochoa, Nicola Jane Flowers, Mark Domenic Pertile, Alison Dalton Archibald
Reciprocal translocation carriers are often diagnosed when they are experiencing difficulties conceiving or after a pregnancy affected by an unbalanced set of chromosomes inherited from the balanced carrier parent. Having a reciprocal translocation is not uncommon; carriers can benefit from reproductive options to achieve a healthy, chromosomally balanced, pregnancy. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experience of carriers and their partners. We conducted 13 semi-structured telephone interviews. Participants were recruited through Victorian Clinical Genetics Services and interviews took place between May and September 2020. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Reciprocal translocation carriers and their partners described long term emotional and reproductive impacts, with carrier status identified at the time of prenatal diagnosis having marked emotional consequences. Couples facing reproductive challenges found the diagnosis created uncertainty for their future. When considering a pregnancy, couples worried about experiencing a miscarriage; during pregnancy, there was a reluctance to have an invasive diagnostic procedure due to fearing the risk of losing an unaffected pregnancy. Adaptation to their new reality involved having access to accurate information, peer support and maintaining hope. Couples valued having the option to know the carrier status of their children. The complex impacts of carrying a reciprocal translocation highlight the importance of access to specialist genetic counseling services to ensure couples are supported in understanding the implications of their translocation.
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