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

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!

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About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin’s message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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88 Comments

  1. Dsa111222
    Dsa111222 January 18, 06:11

    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

  2. merell
    merell March 28, 22:27

    i just found out 3 days to my wedding that we both AS, all am asking is their a way out and where cos we not ready to quit

  3. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 20:51

    @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!

  4. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 21:39

    @Destiny, that is probably a false-negative. I would suggest you to have him retested somewhere else.

  5. ninosy
    ninosy June 11, 00:04

    Your comment..please my guy also said we should break up because we all are AS

  6. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author June 13, 01:21

    @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.

  7. Annita
    Annita June 20, 21:11

    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?

  8. zogale
    zogale June 25, 03:32

    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???

  9. Chief Benson
    Chief Benson July 08, 08:52

    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

  10. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author July 14, 13:12

    @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.

  11. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author July 14, 13:22

    @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.

  12. Iyabo
    Iyabo September 08, 14:25

    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?

  13. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author September 16, 11:24

    @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.

  14. Shailesh
    Shailesh September 19, 09:25

    Can sickle cell AS marry with sickle cell AS

  15. tish1000
    tish1000 September 26, 21:49

    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.

  16. Fixity
    Fixity October 30, 01:27

    I am negative n my fiancée is as,is it good

  17. Akua
    Akua November 03, 21:48

    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.

  18. Betty
    Betty November 18, 00:46

    Please I heard using folic acid and pregnant care help reduce the risk of having sickle cell child, how true is that.

  19. chrisy
    chrisy December 22, 22:52

    Am facing the same problem with the love of my life. We are both AS. its driving me crazy.

  20. Jussme
    Jussme January 06, 14:38

    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 ?

  21. Esti
    Esti January 17, 22:23

    Can a cf patient marry As?

  22. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author January 22, 19:28

    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.

  23. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author January 22, 19:32

    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.

  24. ashly
    ashly February 01, 23:55

    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

  25. ashly2
    ashly2 February 01, 23:59

    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

  26. Kwame
    Kwame February 03, 05:45

    I’m AS and my lady is AC can we marry?

  27. kuma
    kuma February 13, 13:51

    my name is Daniel my fiance is sc but am not I will like to no weather our children will inherit her type

  28. farheen
    farheen February 14, 00:02

    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

  29. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 14, 01:05

    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.

  30. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 14, 01:08

    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.

  31. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 14, 01:13

    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!

  32. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 14, 01:16

    @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.

  33. farheen
    farheen February 14, 10:07

    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. farheen
    farheen February 14, 10:44

    sir which type of natural remedies I can take…plzz suggest because without medicine how I can sufferd

  35. kays
    kays April 15, 02:13

    please can AS and SC carrier get married?

  36. Tantie
    Tantie August 01, 14:44

    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

  37. glain
    glain November 05, 10:12

    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.

  38. Chichi
    Chichi November 19, 21:39

    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.

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