Screening for sickle cell and beta thalassaemia

Interview 34

Age at interview: 38

Brief outline: Mother who has a child with sickle cell anaemia diagnosed through newborn screening. If she had known in pregnancy what she now knows about the condition she might have had a termination. Video and audio clips read by an Actor.

Background: Housewife, single, with 3 children. Ethnic background/nationality' Black African.

Audio & video

This mother's third baby was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia through newborn screening. She knew there was a risk the child might be affected, but had decided not to have diagnostic tests in pregnancy because she did not think the results would alter her decision to continue with the pregnancy. The child has been very well until recently, but has been very ill in the last few months. If she had known during pregnancy how badly affected her daughter could be, she might have taken a different decision about diagnosis and termination. 

She is a Muslim and has taken religious advice about termination of pregnancy. She has been advised that if there is a condition which is life-threatening, she would be allowed to terminate the pregnancy up to about 12 weeks. She is not planning another pregnancy, but if she did get pregnant again, she would have another CVS and would terminate the pregnancy if the baby had sickle cell anaemia.


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