Because sickle cell disease is a genetic disease, once someone has been born with two copies of the problem gene, there is no way to reduce the risk of that person developing the disease. He or she will definitely develop sickle cell disease.

However, before your baby is conceived, you can take steps to determine whether you and/or your partner carry the sickle cell trait. Consulting with a genetic counselor will help you determine the chances of you and your partner conceiving a baby with sickle cell disease.

Once a baby is conceived, prenatal testing ( ]]>amniocentesis]]> ) can determine whether that baby has sickle cell disease. While this won’t change whether or not the baby has the disease, it can prepare you to care for the baby and obtain the best medical treatment possible.