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How It Affects Them

When someone learns they have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that puts them at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer, that knowledge can influence their life choices, including whether or not to have a child, the Washington Post reports.

For instance, Steff Lyon-Stirling tells the Post that when she learned she had a BRCA 1 mutation, she paused her plans to have a second child. After some testing, she got the go-ahead to try to get pregnant again, but with the knowledge that she should have a hysterectomy or oophorectomy as soon as she could. By contrast, Jaime Wright opted not to have a third child after learning her genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer. She adds that she while she is a bit jealous of others who can have a third child, she tries "not to dwell on what I don't have." 

At the same time, the women worry about whether they might have passed the risk on to the children they did have. "Everyone says there is nothing you could have done, but I still feel guilty," Samantha Sunderwith tells the Post.