Sickle cell disease is a health condition in which the red blood cells that carry oxygen are abnormally shaped. Instead of being like round discs normally, the red blood cells in people with sickle cell disease are shaped like sickles or crescent moons.
The problem with these sickle-shaped cells is that they get stuck together and often block the small blood vessels in the body. This prevents blood from flowing as it should and can cause pain and even organ damage in severe cases.
Sickle cell disease is a genetic disease. What this means is that people who have the disease inherited it from their parents. A person that has sickle cell disease has inherited the abnormal hemoglobin genes (sickle cell genes) from each of their parents. Hemoglobin is the protein inside the red blood cells that carry oxygen. It is the presence of abnormal hemoglobin that makes the red blood cell to be sickle shaped.
When a baby inherits an abnormal hemoglobin or sickle cell gene from both the father and the mother, that baby will be born with sickle cell disease (SS genotype). However, if a baby inherits an abnormal hemoglobin gene from one parent and inherits a normal hemoglobin gene from the other parent, the baby will be born with the sickle cell trait and will have AS genotype and won’t have symptoms of illness.
If you are pregnant and you and your spouse have AS genotype, you can go for a test called the Unity Test that can enable you to find out if your unborn baby has inherited the sickle cell gene from both of you.
The Unity Test is beneficial to you and your unborn baby because it is a non-invasive blood test unlike Amniocentesis which is an invasive test that requires a needle to be inserted through the uterus to collect the amniotic fluid to check for birth defects and genetic conditions. Another invasive test is called the Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) which checks tissues taken from the placenta.
If you opt to carry out the Unity Test on your unborn baby for sickle cell disorder prior to birth, there are a number of advantages. The test can be used to confirm or rule out whether your baby has inherited the disease.
This type of testing is offered during pregnancy if there is an increased risk that the baby will have a genetic or chromosomal disorder and help you make decisions about a pregnancy.
For genetic testing before birth, a blood test can screen pregnant women for some disorders. Unity Test is the only test that screens mother and baby for five commonly inherited conditions from a single tube of blood and one of these diseases is sickle cell disease.
The procedure is simple and the results are ready in three weeks. All that you need to find out if your baby is at risk of sickle cell disease is this simple test. All that it requires is one tube of blood from your arm, so it’s safe for you and safe for your unborn baby.
Unlike all other carrier screening, Unity Test is faster, cheaper and safer. It is also convenient because the DNA sample of the father is not required to assess the fetal risk assessment.
The Unity Test enables every couple to have access to safe, accurate and affordable prenatal screening for sickle cell disease. The test consists of two steps both of which are performed from the same blood sample taken from the mother.
In the first step, your own status as the mother is ascertained. If your status has been confirmed and you are a carrier of the sickle cell gene (AS), the blood sample will then be tested to determine the status of your unborn baby.
The test quality parameters are excellent with accuracy ranging up to 99 percent, which surpasses the gold-standard for carrier screening for sickle cell disease. The Unity test can change your situation and offer you great benefits.