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Case Study May Give Parents New Option for Ensuring Children Aren’t Born With Sickle Cell

January 29, 2018 by Andrea
case study

Photo for illustrative purposes only



There's been a push among sickle cell advocates to #KnowYourGenotype. The thought behind this movement is that if everyone has their blood tested before marrying and having children, there can be a significant reduction in sickle cell births, ultimately leading to an eventual eradication of the disease itself.

While this is good in theory, human emotions can make things complicated. What if two people who are in love discover that they both carry the trait, for example? The inner conflict and turmoil that must create (and has created over decades), we're sure, is unbearable.

But what if there was another way -- a better way?

On January 18, the medical journal JBRA Assisted Reproduction published a recent case study on how in vitro fertilization, embryo selection, and cord blood could be that better option. In this case, a South American couple -- both carriers of sickle cell trait -- went through six cycles of in vitro to produce 53 embryos. As reported by Sickle Cell Anemia News, of the 53 embryos, 15 had normal hemoglobin, 12 had sickle cell, 20 had sickle cell trait, and 6 were undetermined. 

If the couple was only looking to ensure having a baby without sickle cell or without the trait, they'd have 15 embryos to choose from; however, these parents already had a daughter who was born a sickle cell warrior, so they wanted an embryo to create a baby who's cord blood stem cells were a match for their daughter, and therefore, could be used in treating her. The couple ultimately had a healthy baby boy, and the cord blood transplantation into his sister was successful, presenting a potential new option for parents while reducing the amount of sickle cell births and treating current sickle cell warriors at the same time.


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