Q. My husband’s sister has schizophrenia and I’m afraid that if we have children they could be affected too. How high is the risk of this happening?
Answer By: Patrick F. Sullivan, M.D., FRANZCP
Karolinska Institutet & University of North Carolina
In general, large and carefully conducted studies tell us that the absolute risk is not high. The vast majority of people who have a relative with schizophrenia do not get the disease. In many circumstances, the increase in risk is from around one percent to a few percent. A more complete answer for you and your husband requires more information and perhaps even the involvement of a medical geneticist or genetic counselor. There are a few rare instances where a more definitive answer might be possible.