Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sickle Cell Disease

Font Size

What Increases Your Risk

A child's risk of getting sickle cell disorder occurs when he or she inherits one sickle cell gene and one other type of defective hemoglobin gene.

People who inherit one defective hemoglobin S gene and one normal hemoglobin A gene have sickle cell trait. They don't have symptoms of sickle cell disease, and their bodies don't make sickled blood cells. But they have a 1-out-of-2 (50%) chance of passing the defective hemoglobin S gene to each of their children.

  • If both parents have sickle cell trait, each of their children will have a 1-out-of-4 (25%) chance of having sickle cell disease.
  • If one parent has sickle cell disease (has two genes for making hemoglobin S) and the other has sickle cell trait (has one hemoglobin S gene and one normal hemoglobin A gene), each of their children will have a 1-out-of-2 (50%) chance of having sickle cell disease and a 1-out-of-2 (50%) chance of having sickle cell trait.
  • If one parent has sickle cell disease (two hemoglobin S genes) and the other has two normal hemoglobin A genes, each of their children will have sickle cell trait. None of the children will have sickle cell disease.

People whose ancestors were from Africa, India, the Middle East, the Mediterranean (Turkey, Italy, Greece), and some Latin American countries are more likely to inherit the gene that can cause sickle cell disease. In the United States, about 2,000 children are born each year with sickle cell disease.2

For more information, see a picture of the risk of passing on an autosomal recessive disease camera.gif such as sickle cell disease.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Can you catch one?
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
mosquito
Stings, bites, burns, and more.
Allentown, PA
Are you living in one?
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.