Hey Bill Nye! I Have an Inheritable Disease. Should I Have Kids?

William wants to have kids someday. William has cystic fibrosis, an inheritable disease. How should he approach this dilemma?

William: My name is William and I have cystic fibrosis. I’ve always been really excited about the idea of becoming a father in the future but given I would definitely pass on these faulty carriers CF gene if I have children, do you think it would be irresponsible to do so? Thank you very much.

Bill Nye: I don’t have cystic fibrosis, although I studied it, you know, a while ago. Maybe that’s why you sought me out on this. I did a video about cystic fibrosis. And I guess somebody passed it on to you and you’re okay or you’re doing okay. It’s up to you. It’s really your decision. And by you, I mean you and your wife or the woman you choose to have kids with. It’s obviously on your mind, but I’ll say just objectively, stepping back, people who have kids that’s the greatest thing they ever do. Kids are the most important thing to anybody. So if you really want to have kids and you have a woman who’s in with you, then I guess who am I to tell you you can’t do it. But we on the outside, we who do not have cystic fibrosis want you to think about being able to support the kid. You might feel worse if you have everybody else judging you badly for having had a kid that you couldn’t support because of this extraordinary condition. But it’s also very reasonable to me that in the next even — we’ll pick a number — 10 years would be extraordinary, but 30 would not be extraordinary. In the next 15 years, someone has a way to have something akin to a virus carry a repair, a gene repair into your cells that would make this condition go away. That’s very reasonable. And you seem able bodied and hearty and I hope you’re in studies so that people can better understand that disease. Really it’s a mystery. So it’s really up to you, sir; it really is. But we really appreciate the question. It’s a burden to carry. For myself personally talking about myself, my family has something that is not fully understood yet called ataxia, which is just a symptom. It’s not the actual disease. There’s over 40 different styles of ataxia. And that really affected my life decisions. It certainly had a big effect on my family. So it’s up to you man and your gal, the woman. Carry on.

William wants to have kids someday. William has cystic fibrosis, an inheritable disease. How should he approach this dilemma?


This week's #TuesdaysWithBill video features Bill Nye at his most personal. In the end, he offers the following advice to William: Do what you feel is right for you, but make sure you can support the kid with your condition.

Of course, there's also the fact that, for all we know, cystic fibrosis might have a cure in the coming decades. There's always hope that medical science will swoop in and save the day.

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