Sickle cell and thalassaemia are inherited blood conditions.
People who have these conditions may need specialist care throughout their lives.
Sickle cell and thalassaemia mainly affect people who originate from Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean, but are also found in the northern European population.
Screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia is best performed before you are 10 weeks pregnant and involves questions about your family origins and those of the father of the baby and a simple blood test.
The most likely result is that you are not a carrier and your pregnancy should continue as normal. If the result shows that you are a carrier of one of the disorders, the father of the baby will be offered a test. If both parents are carriers there is a one in four chance (25%) that their baby could inherit one of the blood disorders and a one in two chance (50%) that their baby will be a carrier.
If both parents are carriers you will be offered a diagnostic test to determine if your baby is a carrier or has inherited sickle cell or thalassaemia. Read more about diagnostic tests.
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For more information about sickle cell and thalassaemia