Back to the basics – a clear explanation to better understand sickle cell anemia and how it is passed on.
Understanding how a disease can be passed on is extremely important so you can plan accordingly when it comes to having kids. This is even more important for patients who are carriers of a disease, and may not be aware of their carrier state since most have minimal symptoms.
Sickle cell disease is quickly picked at birth since there is a mandatory newborn screening within the US (national recommendation since 1987). In order to have sickle cell disease, you need to receive an abnormal hemoglobin gene from each parent. When each parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 25% chance of having a child with the disease, 50% chance of having trait and 25% chance of nothing. It’s important to remember the probability of having an affected child is the same with each pregnancy, just because you have one child with the disease doesn’t mean your next offspring won’t be affected.