Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Can we talk about sickle cell?

I stumbled across this post by 'Pretty lashes' and I thought it was awesome that she blogged about it, as it's something that's been on my mind for a while. This was my response to her post:

''I love that you blogged about this, as it's something quite close to my heart, with one of my close friends being SS and me knowing quite a few carriers of the sickle cell gene. Here are my few thoughts...

Truth is that even though there are a lot more advances in treatment for sickle-cell related complications and many 'sicklers' now live longer, sickle cell disease is life-threatening and we can't ignore it. Whilst I think it's silly for people to run a mile when they meet someone with sickle cell, the example you gave about the guys possibly getting HIV or cancer in the future is not exactly the same because sickle cell is preventable even before birth, if you know about it, whilst cancer for example, sometimes just happens. Our grandparents and those before them didn't know about genetics and blood group/blood type testing and they probably lost a few children to sickle cell and called it something else, but now we do, and can do something about it.

I have a very close friend with sickle cell that has been in and out of hospital a few times and whenever I've seen her in so much pain, it makes me think; why would I want to take the risk of putting my child through that, given the information I know?

I completely agree that we should not discriminate against people with sickle cell, but if we can prevent it, why shouldn't we? That's the reason we have advances in science and technology- so we can make informed decisions, e.g. when it comes to marriage. On the subject of marriage, even some pastors would advice against marrying someone that is AS if you're also AS. Personally, I think it depends on the faith of the couple and there have been many testimonies attesting to this- God is ALL-mighty and anything is possible with Him, but I would have to be absolutely convinced of who God wants me to marry before I make a decision that could affect the lives of my unborn kids..."

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them- if you know someone with sickle cell, or maybe you have sickle cell yourself, how has this affected your life? I'd especially like to know if this has affected your decisions in who you decide to date/marry and why. Thanks!


  1. I saw your comment on PrettyLashes and headed over here without even knowing that you had put up a post to that effect. The topic can't be over-flogged but it is just that I have a problem with how people want to regard it; as if it is just another feature, like big head versus small head.
    NewsFlash: IT ISN'T.
    It is a strong genetic ailment unlike HIV and cancer which you can relatively easily bypass.
    I admit that I do not know much about this topic, I admit that I need to educate myself more on this. BUT, like I have said before, two carriers' decision to REPRODUCE (they don't even need to marry to do this, neither do they need to reproduce just because they are married) isn't something that should be taken with levity. Because the only the thing that rings in my head is that such a child's life has been mapped out for him/her....already...from conception (should he turn out to be a carrier too).
    Of course, there are ways around these things but people need to be able to make informed and less selfish choices, especially when it involves an unborn child who has to live with your decision.

    As for the "prejudice" against the existing carriers....yes, people need to get educated, it isnt contagious. They have a right to love but then it is a two-way road, the others also have a right to leave.

  2. I agree with you Honeydame. Unfortunately we tend to view life from our point of view only and don't tend to see the bigger picture. I don't think many people think about it from their unborn child's view point. The choices we make in life are ours to make but when it could affect someone else's quality of life, we need to think about it carefully...

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. yeah the truth is, the quality of life the unborn child would have is not put into consideration at the stage of relationships/wedding planning.

    i have an aunt who had 4 kids, 3 were sicklers only the last wasnt. 2 of the sicklers died, the 3rd one had a miracle- a change of genotype by faith(after many years of battling sickling crises and watching her younger brothers die).. yeah faith works! she is now married with kids.

    i lost a friend and classmates some days to our project defence to this ailment. imagine how the parents would feel.

    so aside the painful life the children would go thru there's also the hurt the parents would feel and financial drain it would put on the family.

    really its not an easy decison to screen would-be partners or to end a good finally boils down to the convictions and faith of those involved.