Should a Sickle Cell Trait Carrier Marry Someone with Sickle Cell Disease?

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There is a hot topic over at the UKGreat Sickle Cell forum on FB. A gentleman posted this question: My genotype is SS and my fiance is AS. I love this girl very much because of her character. I intend to marry her. Should I go on? I need your candid advice.

I have very strong views about this as a sickle cell warrior. I have seen too many people with sickle cell get relegated to a lonely corner, dumped, and heartbroken just because of their genetic condition. I know many good men and women who are still single yet pining for a spouse even into their 40s and 50s. The fear of sickle cell is a strong thing, and I have to agree that not every person is up to the challenge of living and loving someone with sickle cell.

If you read my archives in the Love and Sex section, you will see that I struggled with my desire to have a soul-mate against my genetics, suffering many failed relationships and heartbreak in the interim. I had earlier ascribed to the notion of not wanting to have kids unless I was 100% certain that they wouldn’t get sickle cell. It had been drummed into me as a child, that I had to look for an AA to marry…so that my kids would all be AS. But I realized a few years later, that there is another option. I could marry whoever I felt was the right man for me, and if our genetics didn’t match up, then God, science, and modern medicine could help the rest of the way.

Because of this, I cannot advise this gentleman to dump his intended. If he loves her regardless of her having sickle cell…then I feel that he should go through with his plans. The only tricky part about it is the decision to have children. They both should decide if children are the end all be all. Not every couple has children…and yet, they still live wonderful and fulfilling lives.

If they do want children that bad, then they could adopt, have a surrogate egg where she carries the pregnancy, do genetic counseling, or selective in vitro fertilization (which is possible in the US and UK). In addition, with each natural pregnancy, she has a 25% chance of having a child with AS. This does not mean that 1 in 3-4 children will be AS while the others are SS…it means that with each pregnancy, she could have an AS child. I know a woman who had the same odds, had 3 children, and they all are AS.

Besides, the point of marriage is not to be a baby incubator, it is to share your life and love with someone else and have someone at your back who loves you and treats you well. Not everyone that gets married has children…and yet they still have very happy and fulfilling lives. We are living in a modern age, and the world is already overpopulated as it is. So choosing not to have children is not the end of the world.

Not everything in life is guaranteed. Even people with AS or AA can get diagnosed with a condition that has the potential to be more complex than sickle cell. And yet they still get to find love. Diabetes, Cancer, Heart problems, Hepatitis…it’s a long list of medical issues that humans now face. Healthy people get viruses that kill within weeks–nothing is guaranteed! Anyone can have anything, so why is sickle cell the one that is the must shunned and feared? Bah!

In addition, if your parents had known about their phenotype, and chosen to break up, abort, or not have you, where would you be today? I consider my life as a blessing, and as the only sickle cell warrior in my family, I love my parents for having me. I love my life, and do not consider it a burden.

So many sickle cell patients end up alone and lonely, without someone to share their life with because we in the community are even stigmatizing ourselves out of fear. We live our lives in fear of passing sickle cell to our offspring. Instead of wallowing in myths and fear, do your research! You can love someone with sickle cell, and to relegate this woman to a life without her love just because of her genetic condition—-THAT is NONSENSE!

92 COMMENTS

    • LOL…I get what you mean. But even if someone has the trait, they can still unite…just do it with some knowledge, wisdom and planning.

  1. my boyfrnd has sickel cell desease,so can we give birth a baby of our own?i dont know if i m sickle cell or not?

    • @Pushplata, my suggestion is to get yourself tested to find out what your type is, whether you are a carrier AS or not. If you are a carrier, you can still have a child with your boyfriend; but it’s a very high chance that you might have a child with sickle cell. Please educate yourself on your phenotype before you have a child with anyone, to prevent this disease from being passed on to the next generation.

  2. I just discovered that my HB is AS. I don’t know yet abt my fiancee. Should she be AS as well, what wld u advice we do? Is AS carrier normal and strong enough to undertake a job which involves much energy and stress?

    • @Nana, being an AS carrier has no issue on energy levels or stress. There are no general effects of being a carrier, except you have to be careful and plan when you have children because with each pregnancy you will have a 50% chance of having a child that has sickle cell disease.

  3. You can not choose who you love but educate yourself. I have sickle beta thal and my 1st husband is AS but we did not find that out until I was pregnant with my 3rd child. We had genetic testing before I got pregnant with the 1st one and with each pregnancy but they didn’t pick it up until the 3rd child. Shocking isn’t it? I have been truly blessed by God because my two girls are AS and my son baby #3 is a thalasemia carrier. I am now married to hubby #2 who wasn’t diagnosed with the AS trait pre pregnancy but was determined to have it at the genetic testing my OB sent me to while I was pregnant. She was tested at birt and I am told she is 100% normal but I don’t trust it because it’s not medically possible so we shall see. Good luck!

  4. hey guys,
    i need some help & your candid advice. my genotype is AS and my fiance is AS & we love each other we got ill & heartbroken when we find it out about our problem.
    so can we be married????????????
    i am bugging all friends to give me the solution>>>
    my email: mundhir87@hotmail.com

  5. I would most sincerely say you cannot marry each other , if you intend having children , i did not get married until i was in my mid thirties because i wanted to do the right thing the pains i had gone through and am still going through made me vow not to bring any child into this world to suffer , love is not all that matters,would you enjoy watching your child going through crises , doctors sticking needles on the child , blood transfusions , all because you became emotional , i waited and met the most beautiful man GOD ever created who is AA, the beauty of this is that my husband after 10 years and a lovely girl to show for it still pampers me , understands my pains , and made the waiting worth it , i would not wish for any other man.

  6. help i want a baby n my husband has Sickle cell disease we have been tryin for a year an notthing the doctor said im fine an readt could it be him????? an if so could we ever get around the disease to have our baby we want?? im lost!!!!

    • @Alone, you are not alone. First of all, before you decide to have children, you need to know what your type is. Your husband is SS or SC right? So you have to be AA to have a guaranteed chance of no baby with sickle cell;’ and AS will give you a 25% chance of having a child with the disease for every pregnancy. Is your husband on Hydroxyurea? If he is, he shouldn’t impregnate you now until he has been off it for several months because this can cause retardation and growth problems in the infant. Has he ever been on Hydroxyurea? This drug sometimes affects males leading to a low sperm count. If you are having fertility issue,s my suggestion would be to see a fertility doctor, after you have tested your phenotype, and ruled out if he is on or was on Hydroxy. Sometimes, if you take the pressure off, and the stress, that’s when you get pregnant. It might be God telling you that you need to do more research on your body and possibilities of passing this disease on before you get pregnant. Good luck and enjoy the process and bond you have with your husband. Spend the time building and working on your relationship, and not as much fretting about whether or not you can get pregnant. Just a thought. Good luck.

  7. MY fiance and i are both Genotype AS and blood group O positive. please can we marry each other?. is there way to detect a SS baby before birth? . please i need your candid advice

  8. Does anyone know about PGD along with IVF??? This is where you CAN have your own biological child. IVF is Invetro Fertilization. PGD is the process that can be done. During the IVF process where a single cell is taken from each embryo can be tested for sickle cell trait or disease. You can donate to research or discard the embryos that are infected by the disease.

  9. am a sickler 19yrs old i have few attacks i can count havin jst four.i got a blood transfusn at age 7.I never saw the hospital again when i was 10 u to my 18th birthday on the very day i clocked 19yrs i started getin in dip shit my left leg and hand pained seriously,the last time it happened it affect only my legs i couldnt walk,i had 2 b aided by a wheel chair,i prayed for death but nw i regred ever asking God 2 take my life.Am very tallented and intelligient i nw see dat there is a reason for everything.

  10. Well for me i believe that no matter the amount of love or drugs available,its not enough for people with AS trait to have children. THE AMOUNT of love showered on that child can never make up for the excuciating crisis no matter how small the child experiences it.. i guess that why we are educated!

  11. my boyfriend and i have trait but we dont know which type yet…am scared to death at the same time i dont want to have abortion.Please help

  12. There was a time when no one new about sickle cell disease (SCD) and there was no explanation for multiple infant deaths in couples. Modern medicine has detected SCD and modern medicine has options for AS/AS and AS/SS couples.

    1) No babies or choose adoption
    2) Selective abortion during pregnacy if fetus has SCD(I would not recommend this option)
    3) IVF with PIGD. It is very expensive and available in many countries other than US and UK.

  13. hello, i have the trait, i’m AS, but with symptoms, actually, i have a pain crisis rigth now, i’m single and i don’t know what to do, what chances do i have to pass the disease?? sorry my bad english, im mexican

    • @Alberto, if you have the AS trait, then it depends on your partner. If your partner has AA (no trait, no disease), then you have no chance of passing on the disease. If your partner also has AS trait, then you have a 25% chance PER PREGNANCY of passing on the full blown sickle cell disease. So please make sure you know what your partner’s type is before you get pregnant, to avoid having sickle cell passed into your children. Try to hydrate, drink alot of water, and rest. Your pain should go away in a couple of days. You can also take some Ibuprofen, or Tylenol if its really bad. Sorry that you are in pain.

  14. I MARRIED MY HUSBAND 18YRS AGO.. HE DIDNT KNOW HE HAD THE TRAIT.. WE FOUND OUT AFTER BEING MARRIED 8YRS. I GOT PREGNANT SOON AFTER.. OUR DAUGHTER HAS FULL BLOWN SICKLE CELL. EVEN THOUGH ITS HARD SOMETIMES.. I WOULD NEVER REGRET MARRYING OR HAVING MY CHILD..

  15. That decision can only be made by the two love birds. However if you went ahead and got married, from my elementary genetics, the chance of giving birth to a sickler is 50 percent for every pregnancy. So for each pregnancy you wil either give birth to a trait carrier or sickler

    • O+ is the blood type. You need to ask what is the hemoglobin type. That is not enough information to go on. Get your partner tested to see if he/she has sickle cell trait or any variation of sickle cell.

  16. Hi, am ss and my fiance is AA, wat are my chances of giving birth without complications. Am very worried because i heard sicklers hv lots of complications during pregnancy.

  17. Am 31 years,am SS,men run away from me ones I tell them my genotype. I run away from AS and AA run away from me.am fed up.i really want to get married and have my babies like others.can I also go with AS?

  18. hi…am AS and my boyfrnd is AC..pls can we get married and hv babies with no complications?..and what are the chances of havin SC babies..also how severe is SC

  19. I am a lady wIthaca O positive blood and I don’t know the type of blood group I can get married to.please I some insights before it’s too late.

  20. Please am O positive and my wife is A negative so i want to no can we have kid without any problem please help us.

  21. Your comment.
    hello there,pls I need your advice, I am SC and my boyfriend is AS…we love eavh other so much and on rhe verge of getting married. …do you think we should proceed regarding our health issues…

    • @Freeman, I think you are mixing blood type and genotype. Blood type is A, B, O, or AB. This can be positive or negative depending on the Rhesus factor. Genotype is your sickle cell hemoglobin type and is usually either AA, AS (carrier), SS (full blown disease), or some other hemoglobinapathy like thallassemia, or hemoglobin variant. You both need to take the test for sickle cell. It’s called a hemoglobin electrophoresis test or the sickle cell test.

  22. Ok I dont have the trait but my child’s father has full blown sickel cell i got my son tested an he doesn’t have the trait or anything is that true

    • @Merell, you are probably married now but you should look into fertility options when you are ready to have children. You have a high chance (25%) per EACH pregnancy of having a child with full blown sickle cell disease. So make sure your wife and you discuss and weigh these options carefully. And congratulations on your wedding!

    • @ninosy, if you both have AS sickle cell trait, know that with every pregnancy, you have a 25% chance of having a child with full blown sickle cell disease. This is not something you should want to pass to the next generation. As someone with sickle cell disease, it is a challenging and painful condition. You will also have a 50% chance per pregnancy of having a child who is also a carrier of the sickle cell trait.

  23. Your comment..Am totally confused wit this sickle cell disease,does dat mean we wont be getin married if a person u luv is facin this?

  24. what can be genetoc/reproductive consequences one parent being AS (sickle cell anemie carrier) and the other Beta Thalassemia (minor) carrier
    what are the chances of baby inheriting serious conditions???

    • @Zogale, you have a 25% chance of having a child who has sickle cell thallasemia, a 50% chance per pregnancy of having a child who is a trait carrier of sickle cell or thal, and a 25% chance per pregnancy of having a child with nothing. It’s not the end of the world, you just have to educate yourself.

  25. I am 27 years old and my fiance 26. We just found out that we are both AS, and to make things worst, we have gone a long way and God has just started to bless us by giving me a very good job and my fiance too. We are both cameroonians but what marvels me most is that at the hospital, we were told AS + AS = BAD but AA + SS = FAIR. I love my fiance just so well and we are just at the urge of tying the knots. please someone there help me out. I don’t want to loose my fiance, i also wana have kids, and too, I know it feels to live with a sickler… gosh its painful. I don’t just wana be guilty of bringing forth a sickler who will suffer almost all his/her life in crisis. Someone out there HELP ME please

    • @ChiefBenson, I cannot give you what you seek. My parents did not know that they had the trait, and they unwittingly signed me up for a lifetime of pain. You know. Knowledge is power. If you decide to have children, know that with every pregnancy, the odds are 25% having a child with fullblown sickle cell disease. This means that every time you get pregnant, you are rolling the dice and praying for a miracle. If you lived in a country with fertility, you could have more control, but since you don’t, only God knows what will happen. Just love your babies and support them as much as you can.

  26. Thanks, really find your article helpful. I am SS and I have been praying and using some drugs plus herbs for sometime. I went for several tests and I got several results as AA from different labs. Then months later I din another test and it’s SS. I really don’t know if it changes or if there is a mistake somewhere. I really need to know becos I love my guy and he is asking us to get married. He is AS and he knowing my genotype still wants to go ahead. I want to marry him but am scared. I don’t want my children to face stigmas I have grown to face in life. He is in South Africa, do they have the fertility centers that can help?

    • @Iyabo, it sounds like you may have had a false positive with the AA result. Sometimes, if the sample is not read quickly enough, or the technologist is not experienced, it may yield a negative result. Have you ever had a sickle cell pain episode? If you decide to go ahead and marry, just know that you will have a 50% chance per pregnancy of having a child with full blown sickle cell disease. I would recommend either adopting, having an egg donor, or going for selective embriyonic selection if you want to be sure you don’t have a child with sickle cell.

  27. Please my lady is AS(SC sickling negative) and I am AS( sickling positive).
    I want to know the implication for the two marrying and kids to be condition.
    Please respond in my email.

  28. Your comment..Please am girl of 25 and my guy is 30 years we love each other a lot but we just found out that my guy is As but me am Sc he new it long time but he love me very much. now he wants us to bring it to an end because his doctor said so .Please I like to no if we marry and give birth what’s going to be the result of the children, please I truly love him so much that I have never loved anyone, he means everything to me. What should I do now please.

    • This is not true. All pregnant women take folic acid because it helps with the development of cells. But it will not affect whether not you have a child with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait. Your best bet would be to make sure that your partner does not have sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease. This is a genetic condition and is passed through the DNA. Folic acid cannot change that.

  29. Hello.. I have sickle cell sc and my partner does not have it at all. We have been talking about having a child and we want to know what would the chances be of our child having sickle cell ? .. Would they have the sc like me or none at all ?

    • Your children will have the trait. They will not have full-blown sickle cell disease. But I heartily recommend you getting your partner tested just to be double sure that he does not have any variation of sickle cell disease or trait. Sometimes the test can give a false negative so it’s better to check a few times just to make sure.

  30. I am 27 years old I had a lot of tests about my genotype and the results comes as an AA with 0+ positive blood group.nd I married my husband with free mind knowing he is an As,BT i am confused right I just gave birth to a baby gal she will be 2months in 8days and so far they have tested her nd they said the result is nt too clear but they think she SS?I asked for me nd my husband to restested again nd they say we are both As for d first time am hearing this.i need help bcus am confused.they say my child is Developing the S hemoglobin only and is at 9percent!can anyone help me answers

  31. I am 27 years old I had a lot of tests about my genotype and the results comes as an AA with 0+ positive blood group.nd I married my husband with free mind knowing he is an As,BT i am confused right I just gave birth to a baby gal she will be 2months in 8days and so far they have tested her nd they said the result is nt too clear but they think she SS?I asked for me nd my husband to restested again nd they say we are both As for d first time am hearing this.i need help bcus am confused.they say my child is Developing the S hemoglobin only and is at 9percent!can anyone help me answers

    • @Ashly, i’m so sorry to hear this because you did all the right steps. However it has come to my attention that some of the tests are getting false negative. This is happened to at least four families that I am aware of. I’m so sorry, and I hope that you’ll be able to get your daughter the proper treatment that she needs.

    • Kwame, you can always marry, the question is whether not you can have children. With both of you having the trait, you have 25% chance per pregnancy of having a child with full-blown sickle cell disease and a 50% chance per pregnancy of having a child with the trait. You also have a 25% chance of pregnancy of having a child who is AAA. Good luck!

    • Daniel, if you do not have the trait or sickle cell, the kids will only be carriers of the trait and not have the full blown disease. However, if you have sickle cell trait, and she has full blown sickle cell or SC, this can be passed to your kids. There is a significant chance per pregnancy of having a child with full blown sickle cell. Have you got yourself tested to see whether not you have the tree? I would recommend at least two tests just to make sure you do not have a false negative.

  32. hello sir,
    I am 23 years old & I take medicament daily(folic acid,sodamint,hydroxyurea),my pattern is hbS(sickel cell homozygous) and I want to marry someone & he was normal BUT I want your views about my pregnancy Dr.say during pregnancy stopped a hydroxyurea medicine,so which medicine I can take during pregnancy in place of hydroxyurea….plzzz guide me

    • Yes, your doctor is correct. you cannot take hydroxyurea while you were pregnant because this may cause problems with development of the fetus. There is no substitute medication for hydroxyurea at this time. But you can try taking natural remedies.

  33. Hello sir,I m suffered with sickel cell disease my pattern is HB S(sickel cell homozygous) & I can take regularly my medicament (folic acid,sodamint,hydroxyurea) & I have no longer blood transfusion & any sickel cell crises but I want to marry someone who has normal but my problem is hydroxyurea during pregnancy doctor say stop the medicine so which medicine I can take in place of hydroxyurea….. Plzzz guide me

  34. Pls am AS and my husband also AS, we intend to have 3 kids. I want to ask if all the 3 kids will be having the traits. I also want to know if twins can have the same type of sickling cell

  35. I have my genotype to be AA but my girlfriend has hers to be AS I wanna know is there a chance of marring her and at least giving birth to a child?I really love her.Please I need your advise.

  36. Hello. I’m in my second year at the university. I just started going out with this guy I’ve known since the 9th grade. LOL, he’s been asking me out since the first year in high school and we finally started going out last September(we’re almost two months now).
    I really love him. And he’s SC while I’m AS. I’ve always been told to get an AA person and I know he’d also been told that.
    He just told me yesterday. We usually talk about a future together and I know he wants to be with me as much as I want to be with him. But I don’t know if it’s too deadly to marry him.

    I actually don’t care about whether we can have kids or not. I only care about being with him cause we can even adopt. But I’m worried about him….I don’t know what our parents will say. And I also don’t know if there are somethings I need to know before if possible marriage comes in.

    Also, if there are ways of giving birth with little or no risk, can I know them? We’re in Ghana. Thanks.

  37. I am As and my wife is SS. What are the options and associated risks in her having a child medically (that is not biological conception)?

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