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Can a thalassaemic carrier marry?

Q: My 20 years old friend is a thalassaemia carrier. Now, he is going to get married. Will this affect his married life?

A:I am assuming from your statement "thalassaemia carrier state", you mean beta thalassaemia carrier state. If anyone is a carrier and gets married to a person with normal genotype, there is a 50% chance / possibility of having an offspring with thalassaemia carrier status. However, no thalassaemia major birth (baby with thalassaemia) would happen.

What one needs to remember, that in addition to beta thalassaemia, there are many other hemoglobinopathies which could potentially interfere as well, if one of the partners is a carrier of the same. For instance if the spouse has E in heterozygous state, there is a possibility of E-beta thalassemia, which could be symptomatic.

What your friend needs is genetic counselling with respect to haemoglobinopathies and this would be most appropriate after he has chosen the life partner. If, however, he wants this to be a criterion in choosing the partner, then he should take counselling right now!

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