Q: Hi Doctor what can i do to avoid sickle cell among children?
A: Interesting question!
Parenthood is a huge job. It involves a human being literally sacrificing all for another. You want to protect your children from pain, hurts, losses etc even when you know it is impossible. When they are ill, you want to take over the illness and leave them well. So imagine if you were the parent of a sickler, who has to deal with crises after crises, in pain and sickly most of the time. You’re constantly praying to God to please let this crisis pass, please reduce the pain and indeed you are in the hospital more often than not with this child.
How did this happen? Well it was when two sickle trait carriers (people with AS) decided to get married. This automatically meant that for each pregnancy, they had a 25% chance that the baby would be born with genotype SS. This is a mathematical probability and so it could very well be that none of this couple’s children would be SS or it could very well be that all or half of them could be SS! So imagine starting out on a journey of parenthood knowing that your heart is going to be broken again and again as you deal with your child’s continual visits in and out of a hospital.
Therefore, before marriage, a couple should be sure to carry out tests. I’m not talking about those carried out by churches to confirm pregnancy at al 😀 but a serious desire by couples to seek answers as they make the decision to undertake a voyage together. This should ideally be done or known by both parties early enough in a relationship before emotional investments are made on either side.
If two people are carriers of the sickle cell trait, it is only pragmatic not to marry. Before you all lynch me, I know it is not as easy as it sounds. But marrying because you’re emotionally invested is really exchanging one type of heart break for another…because your heart will surely break when you have to watch your child go through the pains of the many crises he or she has to deal with or have them die in your hands.
If I were to choose, I most definitely know what the choice would be for me. It may not be an easy choice but we’ve got to break the trend of these increasing numbers of people living with sickle cell anaemia in our communities. If ignorance is the problem, let’s spread the knowledge; if love being blind is the problem, ladies and gentlemen, please bring a flashlight along and show the light!
For more on this topic, please click on these links: https://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/06/24/daily-health-tips-my-fiancee-and-i-have-as-genotype-should-we-get-married/
Have a fabulous weekend!