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Who gets the sickle cell disease?

By May 14, 2009 - 8:07pm
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If two people with the sickle cell trait have a baby, will that baby have the trait or the disease?

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Thanks For The Information. I'm Going To Work With This And Share it with My Family.

Thank You

May 18, 2009 - 9:24am

Great question, Kinnis. Let's see what we can find out for you.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects your red blood cells. The become hard and pointed (sickle-shaped, in other words) instead of soft and round.

If you have sickle cell trait, you've inherited the gene for sickle cell disease, but you don't have it yourself. Rather, you are a carrier; if you have a child with another carrier, that child might have the disease. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America says that right now there are about 2.5 million people in America with sickle cell trait, and about 70,000 people with the disease itself. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year in America.

Here is the SCDAA website:


Here's a bit about the genetics of it:

--When a child has two parents with sickle cell trait, there's a 25% chance that the child will have sickle cell disease.

--When one parent has the sickle cell trait but the other does not, the child will inherit the trait, but not the disease.

--But when one parent is carrying the trait and the other actually has the disease, the odds increase to 50% that their child will inherit the disease.

This is a very good explainer of the different types of sickle cell disease and of the genetics behind inheriting the trait:


Here's an absolutely great resource page from Harvard:


And I also came across this Genetics Home Reference page from the U.S. Library of Medicine; it's a fascinating site:


Is this information helpful? Is there anything more specific I could help you find?

May 15, 2009 - 10:09am
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