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Sickle cell disease is a genetic disease. After someone has been born with two copies of the problem gene, there is no way to reduce the risk of that person developing the disease.

Before your baby is conceived, you can take steps to determine whether you and/or your partner carry the sickle cell trait. Consulting with a genetic counselor will help you determine the chances of you and your partner conceiving a baby with sickle cell disease.

After a baby is conceived, prenatal testing can determine whether a baby has sickle cell disease. While this won’t change whether or not the baby has the disease, it can prepare you to care for the baby and obtain the best medical treatment possible.

Revision Information

  • Sickle cell disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 6, 2013. Accessed July 1, 2013.

  • Sickle cell disease. Nemours' KidsHealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/sickle%5Fcell%5Fanemia.html. Updated September 2012. Accessed July 1, 2013.

  • Sickle cell disease (SCD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html. Updated September 27, 2012. Accessed July 1, 2013.

  • What is sickle cell anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/. Updated September 28, 2012. Accessed July 1, 2013.