Why we screen for sickle cell & thalassaemia

Sickle cell and thalassaemia are blood disorders that can be passed down to babies by their parents. Babies found to have the condition(s) may need additional care throughout their life.

Women from an African, Caribbean, South Asian or Mediterranean background are more likely to carry sickle cell, and will be offered the screening test for this. All women are offered the test for thalassaemia.

It is important to get screened as early as possible for sickle cell and thalassaemia so you can find out if your baby has a chance of inheriting these conditions, and make an informed decision about what to do next.
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“I wanted to test for sickle cell and thalassaemia, even just to rule it out. I knew it would be best to know early for my baby.”

What happens if your test shows you are a carrier?

If your screening test shows that you are a carrier of sickle cell or thalassaemia your baby’s father will also be offered a blood test.

If the father is also a carrier, you can choose whether to have further tests to find out if your baby is affected. You will receive all the help and support you need.

You and your partner can speak to your doctor about the screening tests available and choose what’s right for you and your baby.

Watch Alessandra's story


“I wanted to test for sickle cell and thalassaemia, even just to rule it out. I knew it would be best to know early for my baby.”
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