What We Know About Epilepsy & Hereditary Causes

It’s unlikely that a parent with epilepsy will pass it on to their child. Current research shows that there is only a slightly higher risk of children developing epilepsy when their parents have epilepsy (3.5-6%) than when their parents don’t have epilepsy (1-2%). Your level of risk depends on your specific situation, so you should consult with your epilepsy care team if you have concerns.

Common Questions About Heredity & Epilepsy

Consult With Your Doctor

We understand that you may be concerned about passing epilepsy onto your children. But research shows that children of parents with epilepsy only have a slightly higher chance of developing the condition than children of parents who don’t have epilepsy. 

Consult with your epilepsy care team if you have questions about epilepsy and hereditary concerns.

Download our Pregnancy Planning With Epilepsy - Questions to Ask Your Doctors, and bring a copy to your appointments to help guide your conversations and get the answers you need.

Start working with your epilepsy care team as much as 12 months before you decide you want to try to get pregnant. They’ll help you plan your pregnancy in the safest way for you and your baby, including recommending genetic counseling and testing, when appropriate.

Reviewed by: Laura Kirkpatrick, MD, September 2023