Family Health History

Having chosen your sperm donor, egg donor or co-parent it is important to discuss their family health history.

This will include health problems which may have affected their parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents.

There are certain diseases which run in families. some of these are genetic conditions, others are because a family shares the same environmental factors (area they live in, type of food they eat, and so on). You may wish to ask your sperm donor, egg donor or co-parent about diseases which run in their family, some of the more common conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Glaucoma
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Alzheimers
  • Allergy and asthma
  • Depression

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can run in families, so if you have family with either type of diabetes you should keep your blood sugar levels in check. Type 1 diabetes unfortunately can’t be prevented, but Type 2 can, with a healthy diet and exercise. 

High Cholesterol

You can manage your cholesterol levels through diet and exercise, but if you aren’t monitoring your cholesterol and you have a parent or sibling who developed heart disease before the age of 55, you could be at risk. Get your cholesterol checked regularly. 

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

High blood pressure can be managed with medication, diet and exercise, but many people don’t even know they have it until it’s too late. If you have a parent with high blood pressure, then you should monitor yours with regular check-ups. 


A family history of glaucoma puts you at a higher risk because there may be a genetic link. Glaucoma can’t be completely prevented, but it can be treated. 

Malignant melanoma

This is the most serious form of skin cancer – a mole that has turned cancerous. Some families have Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma (FAMMM). If members of your family have had melanoma, or they have very many moles (more than 50) then it is a good idea to have yourself screened for skin cancer every four to six months. If you have moles and any seem to change, become painful or inflamed, then have them checked immediately. 

Breast cancer

If your mother, daughter or sister has had breast cancer you have a 5% risk of developing it in your lifetime. You should regularly check your breasts to increase your chance of early detection. 

Ovarian cancer

This can be caused by mutations in the breast cancer genes. If your mother, daughter or sister has had ovarian cancer you have a 5% risk of developing it in your lifetime. You should have regular cervical smears to increase your chance of early detection. 


There seems to be a slightly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s if your parent or sibling has it. 

Allergy and asthma

If one parent suffers from allergies there is a 50% chance that their child will have the same problems. If both parents are allergic, there is a 75% chance their child will be too. Asthma has been closely linked to allergies – most children with asthma also have allergies.


If there is a family history of depressive disorders, it may be genetic, though the disease is not always passed on and can develop without any family history.