Screening for sickle cell and beta thalassaemia

Interview 09

Age at interview: 21

Brief outline: Mother discovered she was a sickle cell carrier in pregnancy; the baby's father was reluctant to have screening. After the birth, she was shocked to discover the baby had sickle cell anaemia. Video and audio clips read by an actor.

Background: Student, married, one child aged seven months. Ethnic background/nationality' Black African.

Audio & video

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Read below

This mother became pregnant unexpectedly, and for a while considered having an abortion. In the end she felt as a Christian she could not do this, and decided to keep the baby. She then had carrier screening as part of her routine pregnancy care  and discovered she was a sickle cell carrier. This was a surprise, as she had no family history of the condition. The baby's father was reluctant to have screening even though she tried to persuade him. 

When the baby was born, she was shocked and sad when blood tests showed he had sickle cell anaemia. She has a lot of support and information from her specialist sickle cell counsellors to help her care for her son, and draws strength from her faith. 

However, she wishes she had known more about the condition and carrier screening before getting pregnant. Since having the baby she has met a new partner. She told him she had a baby with sickle cell anaemia and they decided he should be tested before they got married. His test results showed he was not a carrier. She feels it is important that people should talk more openly about the condition, and be better informed about screening when they are starting a new relationship.


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