Reproductive behavior of individuals with increased risk of having a child with retinoblastoma

Clin Genet. 2012 Mar;81(3):216-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2011.01791.x. Epub 2011 Oct 22.


To investigate reproductive behavior of individuals at increased risk of having a child with retinoblastoma (Rb), we conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire survey among 118 counselees visiting the Clinical Genetics Department of the National Rb Center in the Netherlands. The recurrence risk for counselees ranged from <1% to 50%. The response rate was 69%. Of 43 respondents considering having children after becoming aware of their increased risk, Rb influenced reproductive behavior for 25 (58%), of whom 14 had a recurrence risk <3%. Twenty of these 25 decided against having more children and 5 used prenatal diagnosis. Eighteen of the 43 respondents did not use any of the alternative reproductive options and had children (or more children), although half indicated having had doubts about their decisions. Multiple logistic regression showed that only perceived risk (p = 0.003) was significantly associated with Rb influencing reproductive behavior. Of 17 respondents planning children (or more children), 11 (65%) considered using one of the alternative reproductive options. We conclude that reproductive behavior is greatly influenced by Rb and that perceived risk, not objective risk, is the most important factor of influence. It is important to offer individuals at increased risk continued access to genetic counseling, even when this risk is small.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Reproductive Behavior*
  • Retinoblastoma / diagnosis
  • Retinoblastoma / epidemiology
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics*
  • Risk Factors