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Sickle Cell Trait

What is sickle cell trait?

A baby with sickle cell trait carries the gene for sickle cell disease but does not have the disease. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that causes abnormal red blood cells. If a child inherits a sickle cell gene from both parents, the child has 2 genes and will have sickle cell anemia. If a baby inherits just 1 sickle cell gene, the baby has sickle cell trait but not the disease. Having sickle cell trait usually does not cause symptoms or other problems that occur with sickle cell disease.

How do I find out if my child has sickle cell trait?

Babies can be tested for sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease with a blood test. The blood test is one of the newborn screening tests done within a few days after birth.

Why is it important to know about sickle cell trait?

If your child has sickle cell trait, you and the baby’s father may want to be tested to see if just one or both of you has the sickle cell gene before you have more children. If both of you have a sickle cell gene, there is a 1 in 4 chance for each of your children that they will get 2 genes for sickle cell anemia and have sickle cell disease.

It’s important for your child to know that he or she is a carrier of this gene, but having sickle cell trait usually does not cause any problems or limits to activities for your child.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-02-08
Last reviewed: 2013-02-07
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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