Newborn Sickle Cell Disease Testing
All babies born in the United States, regardless of ethnicity, are tested for sickle cell disease as a part of regular newborn screenings.
People at greatest risk for sickle cell disease have ancestors from Africa, South or Central America, the Caribbean, Mediterranean countries, India, or Saudi Arabia. Boys and girls are affected equally. If your baby’s sickle cell disease screening comes back positive, medical professionals will do further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
A laboratory test, called hemoglobin electrophoresis, is used to identify the types of hemoglobin in the blood. This test will determine the specific type of sickle cell disease your baby has. Sometimes, testing parents and siblings is helpful for the diagnosis.
Good comprehensive care for sickle cell disease begins with a specific diagnosis by hemoglobin electrophoresis. Treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach with therapy for pain, infections, other complications, as well as attention to your child’s psychosocial needs.
Call the IHTC for more information about genetic counseling and testing.