Our physicians recommend preconception carrier screening for African Americans
Texas Fertility Center San Antonio advocates taking a proactive approach to pregnancy. For this reason, our San Antonio fertility center offers preconception carrier screening for African Americans. This form of genetic testing allows parents-to-be to find out if they are carriers of a genetic disorder. Parents simply provide a sample of blood or saliva at our fertility center, and we send it to a lab for testing.
Preconception carrier screening for African Americans identifies specific genetic disorders
Our San Antonio fertility center spreads the word that preconception carrier screening for African Americans is particularly beneficial, as African Americans have a higher risk of carrying two genetic disorders in particular – sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
- Sickle cell disease is a group of blood cell disorders that affects the hemoglobin in red blood cells. This chronic disorder can sometimes cause episodes of severe pain that can damage the lungs, heart, kidneys and brain. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “…1 in 13 African American babies are born with sickle cell trait. About 1 in 365 children are born with sickle cell disease.”¹
- Thalassemia refers to a group of hereditary blood disorders that may be moderate or severe. Alpha thalassemia major, the most severe form, usually causes babies to die before or soon after birth. All forms of the disorder can cause lifelong mild to severe forms of anemia. The risk for thalassemia is another compelling reason for African Americans to consider preconception carrier screening.
Genetic screening is an effective way for patients to find out if their child is at risk for one of these disorders, and we recommend it for anyone who wishes to become pregnant.
Our fertility specialists can help patients understand the results of testing
Each parent contributes one copy of each chromosome to their baby, so the child has one copy of the gene from the mother and one from the father.
If preconception carrier screening determines that both parents have the gene mutation for the disorder, their child has a 50% chance of being a carrier; a 25% chance of having the disorder; and a 25% chance of having neither the trait nor the disease.
If results determine that you and your partner are carriers of a genetic disorder, the physicians at our San Antonio fertility center can counsel you on your options, including preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Contact us to learn more about preconception carrier screening for African Americans.