Just when you think sickle cell can’t get any more intrusive to ones everyday life … it does.
I’ve explained how sickle cell can effect travelling, life expectancy and ones day to day life in general, and like thats not enough to deal with, when it comes to being in relationships, sickle cell presents itself as another hinderance.
Just imagine finding the person of your dreams only to find out later down the line that you’re not physically compatible, you’re SS and your significant other is AS/SS. This will cause unimaginable heartache and it is something that we (those with full blown sickle cell and those with the trait) need to avoid at all costs.
Before I continue with this post please please please understand that this is solely based on the want to have children later down the line. I personally can never bring a child into this world who has sickle cell. Having witnessed the pain & inconvenience that sickle cell causes, first hand & on a daily basis, God knows I would never wish it on my worst enemy, let alone someone I love.
That being said, I do understand why some people with sickle cell choose to be together…who better to relate to than someone who’s going through exactly what you’re going through? But at the end of the day is the relationship worth the guarantee of your child also having sickle cell???
One common misconception of sickle cell is that it is contagious. Sickle cell cannot be caught like a cold or flu…it’s only inherited from parents who have the sickle cell trait.
People with sickle cell have inherited two sickle haemoglobin genes (one from each parent).
The chances of a child being born with sickle cell when the parents are:
AA + AA = 0% 👌🏾
AA + SS = 0% 👌🏾
AS + AS = 25% 😬😬
SS + AS = 50% It’s a bit tight 😬😬😬
SS + SS = 100% I beg you in the name of God…just no ❌
You can easily find out if you have sickle cell trait by taking a blood test, a service your GP should provide.
I read a post on Facebook last month which brought me so close to tears. In a group where people share their tips/experiences etc to do with living with sickle cell, a woman posted that she recently found out that her newborn baby has sickle cell & that she’s scared and unaware of how to look after her daughter properly. She said that her husband was told (by his mother) that he didn’t have the trait, but evidently that wasn’t the case. My heart goes out to this lady and her daughter but the thing that annoys me the most is that situations like this can easily be avoidable.
Before getting into a relationship there are so many things you need to know about the person you’re looking to commit to and it shocks me that so many people disregard the importance of finding out their genotype. Even if your relatives tell you what they think your genotype is, still check, just make sure. You cannot put a price on peace of mind. And if a couple, who’s AS + AS/AS + SS are expecting a baby, I highly recommend testing the baby for sickle cell during the pregnancy so that all the necessary preparations can be made before the baby arrives.
I also remember being at an event last year where there was a Q&A session, and someone asked about the importance of a couple finding out their sickle cell genotype. A lady on the panel dismissed this question so quickly, basically saying that it shouldn’t be a big deal. That if your child ends up with sickle cell, enough advances in modern medicine have been made so your child can live a normal life. I honestly don’t know what medical breakthrough she was referring to because people with sickle cell are still suffering worldwide. This conversation really annoyed me because that would have been an amazing chance to educate people and encourage people to find out their genotype, instead of guessing that doctors can look after us without actually doing research.
Again, if the person you like has sickle cell & you have the trait/sickle cell too, you may still make it known. I’m basing this post on the assumption that everyone wants kids, which isn’t always the case. It’s just because I know what I want.
I have been asked a few times by people with sickle cell “When should you tell the other person that you have sickle cell?” And my answer every time is “from the get go!!”, “as soon as possible!!!” There is never really a perfect time that’ll make the conversation any easier, so just get it over with.
Even though I consider finding out someone else’s genotype something of the highest priority, when it actually comes to physically asking the question I find the encounter soooooooooooooooooooo awkward, I literally shake and my heart beats at 100 mph. Because it’s one of the first things I try and find out about someone, it gives the impression that I’m already thinking really far into the future, (which technically I always do) but once that question is asked it kinda changes the tone of the relationship…it shows that you’re already thinking about your potential future with said person…and unfortunately when the seriousness of the situation is realised it can scare some people away.
If my future bae is reading this please please I’m begging you, check your genotype before approaching me or at least don’t act some type of way when I ask you what it is, try to understand that I already find it embarrassing…please don’t add to it.
Really and truly this message is from all sickle cell warriors, if you’re ever asked by someone to find out your genotype please understand that this is really important information that we need, and don’t be offended if we ask for proof…our health is never an afterthought.
I really do hope that this post can encourage at least one person to find out their sickle cell genotype.