Chances of my daughter having MS?

Hi everyone, I am currently in limbo land with MS awaiting MRI’s etc. My daughters biological father was diagnosed with MS this year (only just found out) and as I am undergoing diagnoses for MS I am really worried for my daughter. I know that MS is not necessarily hereditary, but with a 1in 100 chance of her getting MS with one parent having it, what are her chances if both parents have MS? I wanted to know whether I should have her see a neurologist as a precaution? As I know it must be very rare to have two parents with MS and surely her chances of getting MS are even more likely? She is only 6 I’m so worried for her. If I could have some advise/feedback on what others are thinking about this that would be great. Thanks Alice

Hi Alice,

I think the incidence of BOTH parents having it must be so rare that there are not reliable statistics on the likelihood of their offspring also having it.

I’m afraid my recollection is that the odds with ONE first degree relative affected are rather higher than you have been quoted, at about 1 in 40 to 1 in 20.

However, irrespective of the exact odds, it’s still more likely that your daughter will NOT go on to develop MS, as we know it’s not directly inherited.

If she is not exhibiting any symptoms, I see no value in consulting a neuro “as a precaution”. It’s very unlikely any abnormality would be found, in a child of six, who has not exhibited any symptoms. It may only cause her needless anxiety, as she’d be bound to wonder what she needs to go to hospital for, and if there is something serious the matter. In the absence of any symptoms, I can’t see the point of subjecting her to this. They wouldn’t treat “symptomless” MS, even in the unlikely event some abnormality was detected, so you would most likely be sent home and told to watch for any developments.

I don’t think it’s good to convey to a young child that there’s “likely” to be something the matter with them, in the absence of any symptoms. So although your fears are understandable, it’s probably better to keep them from your daughter, in case she grows up with a bit of a phobia or fixation about it. Obviously, when she’s older, she will be able to understand she is at somewhat higher risk than the general population, and know if she has any symptoms that need reporting. But I don’t know of any existing “pre-screening” for MS (experiments have been done in Israel, but that’s it), so going to a neuro now, in case she were to develop it later, isn’t going to reveal anything, in my opinion.



I think wait and see what your own diagnosis is first.

If you are diagnosed with MS, consult with your neuro about your daughter and her risk of MS and what precautions you might take (vit d, checkups etc).

As Tina said, there are no screening tests for MS so there is little point of doing anything in advance of symptoms. I think it would be sensible to give your daughter a vitamin D3 supplement / encourage natural vitamin D exposure (safely) though: there is little doubt that vitamin D deficiency is involved in the development of MS. Smoking is a risk factor for MS & more severe MS so encouraging her not to smoke and having a smoke-free house would be a sensible move. I’m afraid there is very little else that we can do :frowning: Remember that the odds are still very much better that she will NOT get MS. Karen x