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Fertility and Pregnancy in Cystic Fibrosis

      People with cystic fibrosis (pwCF) have experienced increased survival and wellbeing in recent decades, such that more than half of those living with CF are adults. Consequently, sexual and reproductive health is increasingly important for pwCF, because many are considering parenthood. Most men and some women with CF (wwCF) will have reduced fertility, which in both sexes is multifactorial. However, unplanned pregnancies in women are not rare, and contraception and its interaction with CF complications need to be addressed by the CF team. Reduced fertility may be overcome in most pwCF through use of assisted reproductive technologies; however, the risk of having offspring with CF must be considered. Most wwCF will have normal pregnancies, but premature birth is common, especially in the setting of reduced lung function and CF-related diabetes (CFRD); optimization of treatment is recommended during pregnancy planning. Parenting imposes an increased burden on pwCF, with the challenges of caring for the newborn, postpartum physiologic changes, and maintaining CF treatments. Most drugs used to treat CF are considered safe in pregnancy and lactation, but exceptions need to be acknowledged, including the limited data regarding safety of CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators during conception, pregnancy, and lactation. Because most pwCF are eligible for highly effective CFTR modulators, fertility, contraception, and pregnancy in people with CF is changing. Prospective studies regarding these issues in people treated with CFTR modulators are paramount to provide evidence-based guidance for management in the current era of CF care.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      ART (assisted reproductive technology), CBAVD (congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens), CF (cystic fibrosis), CFRD (cystic fibrosis-related diabetes), CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator), CHC (combined hormonal contraceptives), CS (cesarean section), ELX-TEZ-IVA (elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVA (ivacaftor), IVF (in vitro fertilization), LFT (liver function tests), LUM-IVA (lumacaftor-ivacaftor), mwCF (men with cystic fibrosis), PEx (pulmonary exacerbations), PGT (pre-implantation genetic testing), pwCF (people with cystic fibrosis), TEZ-IVA (tezacaftor-ivacaftor), wwCF (women with cystic fibrosis)
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