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Should My Kids Be Tested for Hepatitis C?

When we’re first diagnosed, all we can think of is getting cured. If you’re a parent, you may also have extra questions. Should my kids be tested for hepatitis C? Is there a chance that I passed it on to them? I know a woman who had 4 children, and only 1 got hep C at birth. The chances are so low that it’s not talked about much. I’ve got a few answers and hopefully can put your mind at ease if you have had hep C and you also have children.

For women only

If you gave birth during the years you had hep C, there is a super slight chance that you passed the virus on to them in what is called “vertical transmission”. That is when your baby could have gotten HCV from living and growing in your uterus, or even during the process of giving birth. Again, the chance is less that 5%. My only child, a daughter, did not get hep C from me.

You will have notified your doctor that you have hep C in order to prevent any chance of your baby being infected during birth. At about 2 months old, you can have a simple blood test performed to see if they have antibodies. If they do, then a viral load test can be done to see if hep C is active.

For men

There is not any evidence that a father can pass hep C on through sperm, during conception.

Managing life as a parent with hep C

If you’re a mom or dad who has Hep C, you should actively seek treatment. In my experience, you need to be have a healthy liver in order to raise a family. Hep C causes inflammation, fatigue, and can lead to liver damage if left untreated for years.

Acknowledge any guilt you may have about it, and let it go. The best way to deal with guilt is to release the past, and any negative thoughts that arise. Use your energy to build a new future based on a healthy lifestyle that is hep C free.

If your child tests positive for hep C

Most doctors agree that an infant should not be treated. In fact, many infants will clear the virus on their own by the age of about 12 to 18 months. If the virus persists, they may be considered for treatment, typically at about the age of 8 years old.

No one needs to know that your child has hep C except their medical provider. Find a caring physician who can help you get the right immunizations against other types of hepatitis. They can also guide you toward continued testing and treatment. If you experience any kind of stigma, or don’t agree with the doctor, try to find one who will help you and your child.

You may choose to talk with your children about it as they get older. They too will need to know about treatment, medical care, and the stigma they may face. I hope this helps if you are wondering, “Should I have my kids tested for hepatitis C?”.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.