Screening for sickle cell and beta thalassaemia

Interview 03

Age at interview: 41

Brief outline: Woman with haemoglobin SC disorder. Husband discovered he was a sickle cell carrier. Had CVS in all three pregnancies. The first and second babies had SC disorder, but the third had sickle cell anaemia. Video and audio clips read by an actor.

Background: Married, three children. Ethnic background/nationality' Black African.

Audio & video

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This mother was diagnosed with a sickle cell disorder in childhood in Nigeria, and grew up believing she would not live past the age of 20. When she came to the UK to study, she discovered she had haemoglobin SC disorder, which is usually less severe than sickle cell anaemia (or 'SS'). She has had problems with severe pain at various periods of her life, but has learnt how to manage her condition well.

Her partner believed he was not a carrier, but when he went for screening during her first pregnancy he learnt he was a sickle cell carrier. This meant their children had a 50% chance of being carrier, a 25% chance of having SC disorder and a 25% chance of having sickle cell anaemia. They decided to have a diagnostic test (CVS) in each pregnancy to help them prepare, and she felt that if she discovered any of her babies had sickle cell anaemia she might terminate the pregnancy. The first and second babies were diagnosed with SC disorder, but the third had sickle cell anaemia. After talking it through with her husband, her sickle cell counsellors and a confidential telephone advice line at her church, she decided to continue the third pregnancy. So far her third child's health has been good, and she is glad she has had prenatal diagnosis in each pregnancy.


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