If I have type 1 diabetes, what is the risk my child will develop it?

A child born to a parent who has type 1 diabetes is at slightly greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes than children of parents without diabetes. The risk is slightly higher when the father has type 1 diabetes.

Researchers have identified genes that could play a role in type 1 diabetes. However, there is no genetic test for predicting whether your baby will develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Baby’s Risk for Type 1 Diabetes:

  • A baby has a 1 percent risk of developing diabetes if the baby is born to a mother who is age 25 or older and has type 1 diabetes.
  • A baby has a 4 percent risk of developing diabetes if the mother is younger than age 25 when the child is born.
  • A baby has a 6 percent risk of developing diabetes if the father has type 1 diabetes.
  • Each of these risks is doubled if the parent with type 1 diabetes developed it before the age of 11.
  • If both parents have type 1 diabetes, the risk is not known but is probably somewhat higher.
  • A baby born to parents who do not have diabetes has a 0.3 percent risk of developing the disease.

 Ask your provider to refer you to a medical geneticist or genetic counselor if you have concerns about your baby’s risk for diabetes. They are trained to assess the contributions of genetic and environmental factors in causing many diseases, including diabetes. They will know the results of the latest diabetes and genetics studies and studies to prevent diabetes in high-risk individuals.

According to the American Diabetes Association, if you are a man with diabetes, your child has 1 in 17 odds of developing the type 1 diabetes. If you are a woman with diabetes, your child's risk of developing the disease is between 1 in 25 and 1 in 100.

Other factors that increase your child's diabetes risk include: both parents having type 1 diabetes, one parent developing diabetes before age 11 and having a disorder called polyglandular autoimmune disorder. Certain blood tests for antibodies and genetic markers can test for and help evaluate risk for diabetes as well.

The best way to determine your child's risk is to discuss your family's history and risk factors on an individualized basis with your doctor or a genetics specialist.

If you as a parent have type 1 diabetes, your child has a 10 to 20 times greater risk of developing the disease than the general population.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.