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Will I Pass Sickle Cell Disease on to My Children?

Sickle cell disease runs in my family. I don't have it, but my friend told me I can still pass it on to my children. Is this true? I don't have kids yet, but I want to be a mom someday.
Raiyah*

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder. Children can:

  • inherit only one sickle cell gene from a parent. They have sickle cell trait. They usually do not develop symptoms of sickle cell disease.
  • inherit two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. They have sickle cell disease and will need lifelong medical care.

You can find out if you carry the sickle cell gene with a simple blood test.

If you do have sickle cell trait, it doesn't mean your kids will have sickle cell disease. Your child would have to inherit two sickle cell genes to have sickle cell disease. So if your child's father does not have the sickle cell gene, your child can't get sickle cell disease. But if your child's father has the sickle cell gene, your child can get sickle cell disease.

Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date Reviewed: 10-09-2019

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