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Infected with thalassaemia

Q: I am a thalassaemia minor but my wife is not. She is in the ninth month of pregnancy. Would our baby be infected with thalassaemia (major or minor).

A:Thalassaemias (minor, intermedia, major and minima) are an inherited group of blood disorders (and NOT an infection). If both parents have thalassaemia minor, there is a 1 in 4 chance of the baby having thalassaemia major (which is a major illness requiring sustained treatment). In your case, this is not significant as only you are a carrier. At most, the baby may be thalassaemia minor which can be tested for when the child is older. Thalassaemia minor, as you have noticed, causes virtually no physical impairment except that you tend to have low haemoglobin. An alternate day course of a tablet of folic acid would help.

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