Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder called an autosomal recessive disorder. It is passed from a parent to a child (inherited). Most people who have hemochromatosis inherit defective genes from both parents. In rare cases, a person can have hemochromatosis by inheriting defective genes from just one parent.
A person who has inherited only one defective gene will most likely be a carrier of hemochromatosis and will not have the disease. A carrier can pass the defective gene on to his or her children.
If only one parent is a carrier of a defective gene, the child will not have hemochromatosis. But there is a 50% chance that the child will be a carrier.
If both parents are carriers, there is only a 25% chance that the child will have both defective genes and so will have a higher risk of getting hemochromatosis. But there is a 50% chance that the child will be a carrier.