Genetic testing for sickle cell carrier status is Nigeria has been described as important in determining who to date and who to marry (CNN article). Some churches in that country require couples to be tested and will not marry those who are at risk of having children with SCD. Why is this such an important decision in Africa?
Nigeria has one of the highest incidences of SCD in the world. SCD is an inherited condition. “A baby born with sickle cell disease inherits a gene for the disorder from both parents. When both parents have the genetic defect, there's a 25 percent chance that each child will be born with sickle cell disease.
If a child inherits only one copy of the defective gene (from either parent), there is a 50 percent chance that the child will carry the sickle cell trait. People who only carry the sickle cell trait typically don't get the disease, but can pass the defective gene on to their children.” (Content from here)
Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States with approximately 100,000 Americans having the disease. In more than 40 U.S. states, testing for the defective sickle cell gene is routinely performed on newborns. if you were identified at birth as a carrier of SCD, how would you use that information in your own life decisions? Something to consider: do you think government or religous institutions should be involved in determining your life decisions (like in Nigeria)?
Fore more about SCD go here. (Image from genome.gov )