March 26th, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Health Risks

Boat in the Fog (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Note: I had a hard time finding information about medical risks for incest and rape. Most sites that talk about incest/rape and pregnancy focus on abortion.

Incest

Source of Information: Answers.com

What Is It?

Pregnancy resulting from sexual contact between the birthmother and a blood relative.

What Causes It?

Sexual contact between blood relatives (whether through rape or consent).

What Are the Symptoms/Risks?

Because families generally carry a similar genetic makeup, producing a baby between family members increases the likelihood of two recessive genes coming together or genetic defects being passed along, which can cause various diseases in the child.

Is it Hereditary?

The health problems that can result in the baby are hereditary.

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Diagnosable at Birth or Latent?

Depends upon the health issue.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

A woman who has become impregnated through incest has been emotionally harmed and betrayed by a family member. In addition to all of the other emotions that any placing mother has to work through, an incest survivor has the added struggle of working through the emotions from the incest.

As an adoptive parent, you will need to consider how much information to share with the child when he asks about his birthparents.

What’s the Bottom Line?

A thorough family health history is a good idea so that you can determine what recessive genes might affect the health of the baby. While being emotionally supportive of any placing mother is wise, additional compassion should be shown to any incest survivor.

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Rape

Source of Information: South Australia Department of Health

What Is It?

Pregnancy resulting from unwanted sex.

What Causes It?

Forced sex (rape).

What Are the Symptoms/Risks?

In most cases, the baby is not harmed by being conceived as a product of rape. In the situation of a stranger rape, health history for the birthfather is unknown.

Is it Hereditary?

No.

Diagnosable at Birth or Latent?

N/A

What Else Do I Need to Know?

A woman who has become impregnated through rape has been emotionally and physically harmed. In addition to all of the other emotions that any placing mother has to work through, a rape survivor has the added struggle of working through the emotions from the rape and knowing that the rapist’s baby is growing in her body. This is probably why only a small number of women who become pregnant through rape choose to continue the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption.

As an adoptive parent, you will need to consider how much information to share with the child when he asks about his birthparents.

What’s the Bottom Line?

From a health standpoint, being conceived through rape does not make a baby more likely to suffer from a health issue. Rape is not an inherited trait that is passed along to a baby. The birthmother is the one who will struggle – she will need to work through the emotions that any placing mother experiences in addition to the post-traumatic stress issues from the rape. While being emotionally supportive of any placing mother is wise, additional compassion should be shown to any rape survivor.

One Response to “Assessing Health Risks: Incest; Rape”

  1. l says:

    Incest is also possible between the victim and a step-parent and a quasi parent (common-law husband), not just the blood father.

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