Frequently Asked Questions

My partner has a cleft and we would like to have a baby. What are the chances of the baby having a cleft? I find it difficult talking to him about this.

In some families there is a history of clefts meaning there is clearly a genetic link. However, in most cases, clefts occur spontaneously as a “one off” and this happens in appoximately 1 in 700 births which equates to about 1000 babies per year. Overall, the chances of having a baby with a cleft if one of the parents is affected is about 1 in 30. For advice in your particular situation you might like to ask your GP to refer you to a genetic counsellor – they will look at the family medical history on both sides and come up with anything that might indicate a possible recurrence. You can also get a referral through your specialist cleft team.  In terms of prevention, there is some evidence to suggest that taking high doses of folic acid before conception and during early pregnancy can help reduce the risk. For further information on this see

It can be difficult talking about having a child with a cleft if you have a cleft yourself and this will probably just mean having to be patient and understanding. If you feel this is a real issue for your partner you could encourage him to perhaps join one of the forum discussion groups (see above) or even suggest he talks to a counsellor via your GP or even one of the cleft teams (who these days can provide good psychosocial as well as medical support).

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