A single centre study on birth of children with transfusion-dependent thalassaemia in Malaysia and reasons for ineffective prevention

Chin Fang Ngim, Hishamshah Ibrahim, Nai Ming Lai, Chen Siew Ng

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    Abstract

    Objective: We aimed to identify factors contributing to ineffective prevention of thalassaemia in Malaysia by studying events leading to the births of children with transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (TDT) including their parents reproductive choices. Methods: Thirty children with TDT born in the year 2005 to 2012 were included. Their parents underwent a semi-structured, face-to-face interview in 2012 and were followed up until 2014 to evaluate the actual decisions made during subsequent pregnancy. Results: In 70 of the cases (21/30), neither parent was aware of their carrier status until their child s diagnosis. Six of the remaining nine cases did not receive accurate information or support for prenatal diagnosis and the termination option. Of the 38 parents interviewed, 20 (52.6 ) indicated that they would terminate an affected pregnancy. Notably, 52.2 of Muslims supported termination. Prenatal diagnosis was made in two of the five subsequent pregnancies, with thalassaemia traits diagnosed in both fetuses. Conclusion: The current poor uptake of voluntary thalassaemia screening in Malaysia and inadequate access to counselling and prenatal diagnostic services contributed to ineffective prevention. A considerable number of Malaysian Muslims may accept the termination option if given access to comprehensive genetic counselling services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51 - 59
    Number of pages9
    JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
    Volume35
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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