How to detect Thalassemia?

As Thalassemia is genetic disorder, it is recommended for every individual to know their Thalassemia status. It becomes critical for those who have a family history of Thalassemia and are planning for your marriage or planning for a baby.

How to Detect Thalassemia before marriage or planning for a baby:
If you have Thalassemia trait, it is critical to know the Thalassemia status of your prospective partner.  You can check your Thalassemia status by a simple blood test (known as hemoglobin electrophoresis test check the different types of hemoglobin in the blood).

How to Detect Thalassemia during pregnancy:
If both parents are diagnosed with Thalassemia trait, then the inherited baby has 25% chance to became a thalassemia major. The thalassemia status of the baby can be detected in different way depending on the age of pregnancy.

  • Between 11 weeks to 14 weeks of pregnancy:  by a testing known as Chorionic villus sampling, which involves taking a small sample of the placenta for DNA testing
  • Between 15 weeks to 17 weeks of pregnancy: by a testing known as Amniocentesis, which involves taking sample of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby for DNA testing
  • Between 18 weeks to 21 weeks of pregnancy: by testing known as foetal blood sampling, which involves taking blood sample from the umbilical cord for DNA testing.

If the baby has inherited Thalassemia major (which means a low survival chance or good quality life), most hospitals provide a Councillor to explain the pro and cons of such pregnancy and its after effects.

While it is very emotional, some parent prefers consider the future of the baby and end the pregnancy by means of medical termination. Though it is a difficult decision, an early detection is better for you and your family.

*Please consult your doctor for the details about the test.