About a year ago a doctor couple came to my chamber with worried, anxious and frustrated mood. The lady doctor started crying. They were known to me. I requested them to calm down asked what happened. The lady doctor narrated the story.
After a long affair they got married six months ago. Recently, she became pregnant; it was a planned and desired pregnancy. Both of them were very happy. She told me that they did a check up that day and found that they both were Thalassaemia carrier. She asked worriedly, “Now can you tell us what will happen to our baby? Will our baby come with Thalassaemia major?”
They asked me if they should choose abortion, which they did not want. I asked them to do chorionic villus biopsies as the pregnancy was eight weeks only. They did that test from India and fortunately the coming baby was also a carrier, not a patient. Subsequently that lady doctor gave birth to a otherwise healthy boy by caesarian section.
Thalassaemia is a congenital hereditary haemolytic anaemia. Where red blood cells (RBC) are broken down due to problem in haemoglobin. There are about 10% carriers in Bangladeshi population. There are many hazards the patients and their families need to bear during the rest of the life.
Avoiding marriage between two carriers only help controlling the disease. Before marriage, do thalassaemia screening to avoid unnecessary hazard. Take care of your kids. Help them giving a normal life.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh.