The Loophole! a blog given by my sister

“So I guess you’ll have to consider aborting all male foetuses’”

These were the words that rang in my ears as I left the doctor’s office that day.
In my mind’s eye I saw the beautiful smiling faces of my sisters’ boys and imagined them erased by those few simple words, words that had been said to me so flippantly and in such a matter of fact way that I questioned whether I was being melodramatic, whether I was weak for being shocked and whether deep down I agreed and was just not ready to admit it yet.

Rewind five years and I had just hung up the phone after speaking to my mother who had, as sensitively as possible, told me that my sister was now a confirmed carrier of HED and that I should know that this meant I could possibly be a carrier as well. I remember I was not upset by these news, in fact, I felt a little annoyed that this had been relayed to me like it was something I should worry about. I didn’t quite get all the genetic jargon mum had used, but knew once I’d have a less busy week at work I’d take a minute to read up, and would find the little loophole confirming this was not going to affect me directly. How wrong I was…

From that call onwards, way, way in the back of my mind the doubts had begun …memories of a hairdresser who’d told me, “You have very fine hair, but a lot of it”… of a beautician observing, “You have very thin skin” … and didn’t I always hate being in a sauna …?

There came the point where I was ready to have children, however my defacto partner was not sure. He worried about the possibility of HED and I started in earnest to try to find my “loophole”. My sister was very helpful and organized for her eldest boy to have his blood tested. The idea was, that once the HED gene was located in him, there would be a test for me. Unfortunately we were to learn that in some rare cases, such as ours, this gene could not be located.

To compensate I went to visit two genetic counselors in two hospitals. They both checked my teeth, hair, nails and skin, looked at family photos and said, “I’m pretty sure you are not a carrier”. I went home to my partner and enthusiastically showed him the pieces of paper calculating the small odds of me having a child with HED but he did not seem convinced. I felt guilty about hoping for a child without HED because I loved my sister’s kids just the way they were. I felt selfish for wanting to take the risk. Slowly but surely I became frustrated and bitter about my situation, a situation that was based on a “maybe” and was breaking up my relationship. Where was my loophole?

Forward to present day and I am looking at my beautiful 6 month old boy who has dark hair and red cheeks from teething. I am no longer with my defacto partner and I am no longer endlessly calculating genetic odds. In hindsight I have learned that HED was just the fall guy for a relationship that was coming to an end anyway, and after studying odds and statistics without reward, it was hope, karma, a gut feeling and letting go that showed me the way.

I am a single mum who’s wonderful ex helped her (without hesitation) to have a child by agreeing to become a donor. I found my loophole.

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3 Responses to “The Loophole! a blog given by my sister”


  1. 1 Renee 22/05/2010 at 10:36 pm

    And what a cute ‘loophole’ i’m sure he’d be!

  2. 3 elaine 06/06/2010 at 10:30 pm

    love this story. congratulations. what will be will be….


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