FAQs – About Carriers

FAQs – About Carriers

Nothing happens. A carrier will be perfectly healthy, and needs no treatment or medical attention. Carrying a β-thalassaemia gene becomes important only when a carrier marries another carrier. In this case each pregnancy has a 25% chance that the baby will have thalassaemia. So it is important to know whether a couple carries the affected thalassaemia gene, so they can decide how to proceed with planning a family.
Like other pregnant women, those who carry β-thalassaemia can also become iron deficient and may need extra iron. The mild anaemia due to carrying β-thalassaemia can, however, become more severe during pregnancy and a pregnant carrier may, though very rarely, need a blood transfusion. The anaemia will improve after the baby is born.
A person who is born carrying β-thalassaemia will always carry it in his/her genes throughout life.
The β-thalassaemia carrier status cannot be acquired or transmitted through the environment, transfusion or other means by which people become infected. Carriers who have inherited β-thalassaemia from their parents could pass it on to their children.
Carriers may be suitable blood donors if their haemoglobin level meets the national inclusion criteria for donating blood.
Carriers should encourage their partners to have a special blood test which ideally should be done before they start a pregnancy. In this case, partners who are both carriers should see a genetic counsellor or a physician to obtain further information and take the time to consider and decide what is best for them.
A carrier should let their brother or sister know about their condition and advise them to also have a blood test for Hb disorders.