Do Colorblind Women Have Colorblind Children?

Sometimes a woman finds out about her color blindness and in this case, she is often worried about what will happen to her children.

What is the chance for them to inherit her color vision deficiency? Or is there any possibility at all that they will not be colorblind?

When I had found out that I was colorblind some questions grew to my concern. Apparently I’m red-green colorblind but I honestly don’t see it as a disadvantage on my part. I feel like I see those colors just fine. However when it comes to taking those Ishihara tests I feel almost handicapped for not being able to see them.

Anyways my question was, should I be worried about having colorblind children in the future? I haven’t read much about color blindness and genes but since I am colorblind, then I carry this abnormal gene, right? So if I were to have children with a colorblind male wouldn’t our children be, in fact, colorblind?

Before I answer your questions about the color vision of your children I would like to say a few words about the statements above. If you don’t feel handicapped in everyday life and if you feel like seeing colors just fine, the same will be true for everybody else inheriting color blindness from you.

The above explanations sound like a slight form of color blindness. There is a huge range starting from very slight color vision deficiency up to complete color blindness. The most important about this is that your children will inherit exactly the same type and severity of color blindness as you are suffering from.

Now let us have a closer look at the above questions about inheriting color blindness from a mother to her children:

Do I carry this abnormal gene encoding red-green color blindness? Yes—and that’s not all. You have not only one but two chromosomes which carry the information. Women have two X chromosomes also called sex-chromosomes which encode red-green color blindenss. If only one of them would carry it, you wouldn’t be colorblind.

Should I be worried about having colorblind children in the future? Firstly you don’t have to be worried at all. As I wrote above your color blindness is not very severe so your children will carry the same form of it. So there is nothing to worry about. But you are also right that there is a chance of having colorblind children.

If I were to have children with a colorblind male wouldn’t our children be, in fact, colorblind? Yes. In this case all of your children would be colorblind—if your partner is also red-green colorblind, which is by far the most common type. And in the case that he isn’t colorblind all of your boys would inherit the color blindness from you and would also be colorblind but all your girls wouldn’t be colorblind, because they inherit a normal gene from their father which overrides the abnormal one inherited from you.

To conclude, if you are a colorblind woman there is some chance for your children to inherit it from you. But you shouldn’t be worried because color blindness does most often handicap your children not very much. And best of all, as you know how it feels you we will be able to perfectly help them out whenever they need it.

You can find more information about inheritance patterns of red-green color blindness at The Biology behind Red-Green Color Blindness.

4 responses on “Do Colorblind Women Have Colorblind Children?

  1. Susan

    I am a 36-year-old mother of 3 kids (ages 6-1/2, 4-1/2, and 2-1/2). Only my son (4-1/2) is colorblind like me. The other two, both girls, are definitely not. I think I read somewhere that if mom is colorblind, her son will definitely be colorblind as well.

  2. Daniel Flueck Post author

    Susan, you are right when we are talking about red-green color blindness – which is by far the most common type.

    In this case if you are colorblind as a woman all your boys are also colorblind. And depending on your husband, your girls are either also colorblind or not, because they inherit either a dominant non-colorblind gene from their father or have two colorblind chromosomes.

  3. maaria

    I’ve known from a very young age (as was very concious about it as in school I could never hand the right colouring pencils to friends) and I have quite severe colour blindness.. Your tests have been the most informative in the sense they don’t just tell me I’m colour blind, but what type of colour blind and how severe and even information on the science of it.. I appreciate all the information :-)