6. Will it be difficult to have children?
I have P.C.D., could it be difficult for me to have children?
Some females with P.C.D. have no trouble, others have had I.V.F. treatment at a fertility clinic. Recent research shows that female fertility is somewhat reduced when the cilia are immotile, dysmotile or missing probably because the oviducts are ciliated and the egg transport is generally believed to be performed at least partially by cilia. Small studies in Sweden have shown that 50% of PCD patients are able to conceive naturally.
If you opt for IVF it is important to make sure that your doctor is aware of your condition to ensure that you have the correct sedation for the egg collection (i.e. you may need an anaesthetist to be present). Some specialist fertility clinics may also be able to offer genetic counselling and pre-conception advice (e.g. how will pregnancy and childbirth affect your lungs/medication etc.).
For males the reason for fertility problems is that the sperms’ tails may not ‘wriggle’ effectively or not at all. This makes swimming along the fallopian tube of the female to fertilise the egg rather tricky or impossible. Do not presume that you are infertile as there have been reported cases where sperm were able to move. A fertility technique called Intracycloplasmic sperm injection (I.C.S.I.) is now being used where the head of the sperm is placed inside the egg in order to produce a fertilised egg.
Further reading which may be of interest:-
‘Birth of healthy children after I.C.S.I. in two couples with male Kartagener’s Syndrome’ from Fertility and Sterility, vol. 70, No. 4 October 1998.
‘Cilia-related diseases’ by BA Afzelius published in the Journal of Pathology in July 2004