Who gets CF?

Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic condition, which means that people are born with it. It occurs equally in males and females.

To have a child with CF, both parents must be a carrier of the CF gene change. If both parents are carriers of the CF gene change, then with each pregnancy there is:

  • a 25% chance of that child having CF
  • a 50% chance that child will not have CF but will be a carrier of the CF gene change
  • a 25% chance of that child neither having CF nor being a carrier.

In Australia 1 in 2,500 babies is born with CF, about one every four days. About 1 in 25 Australians carry the CF gene change – that’s 1 million people – and most are unaware that they are carriers. Because carriers of CF are unaffected and show no symptoms, it is hard for them to understand that there is a 25% chance that they can give birth to a baby with CF.