The last thing loving parents want for their children is suffering. Grazed knees and broken hearts are essentially inevitable, but almost all parents will do everything they can to protect their children from anything even remotely threatening.
Unfortunately, there are some threats lurking around, even before birth.
Sickle cell disease (SCD), also known as sickle cell anaemia, is a condition inherited from one’s parents and therefore not contagious. Unfortunately, this genetic condition has serious effects including vision problems, delayed growth, frequent infections, painful swelling of the hands and feet and fatigue caused by the anaemia (shortage of healthy red blood cells).
The worst and main symptom, however, is severe pain (sickle cell crisis). Repeat episodes, of varying intensity, can last for hours or even weeks.
In time, it leads to organ damage which may or may not include the skin, bones, joints, brain, eyes, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys and penis.
Fortunately, thanks to PGT, babies don’t have to be born with SCD.
Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a procedure during which fertility specialists can test embryos for genetic conditions, before assisted implantation and conception. By doing this, babies don’t have to inherit certain conditions from their parents and suffer the consequences.
PGT is done through the biopsy of day 5 embryos generated through the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process. IVF is not necessarily needed to help couples who request PGT as some of them do not have infertility challenges, but to test for genetic conditions, an IVF needs to be done. Once the fertilized eggs become embryos, cells are biopsied to test for specific genetic conditions like Sickle cell. Healthy embryos can then be selected for implantation.
Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) can also be performed on embryos during IVF treatment to screen for numerical chromosomal abnormalities. Bridge Clinic’s fertility specialists can test for 13 genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities. This disease is devastating and people need to know about it and how it can be prevented.
The terrible truth is that it’s been found that Nigeria has the largest population of people with sickle cell disease in the world and that the vast majority of these Nigerian babies do not live past the age of 10.
As parents, or a couple planning to have children, it’s impossible to be prepared for everything, but, with the right information, there are certain measures you can take to help promote the wellbeing of your family today and in the future.
It’s time to take control of our future.