Hemoglobin E Trait



What is Hemoglobin E trait?

People with hemoglobin E trait do not have Hemoglobin E disease or Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia disease. They cannot develop these diseases later in life. They can pass hemoglobin E trait on to their children.


Why is it important to know if I have Hemoglobin E trait?

Hemoglobin E trait is inherited from one’s parents, like hair or eye color. Normally, Hemoglobin E trait does not cause any health problems.  If one (1) parent has Hemoglobin E trait and the other parent has normal hemoglobin A, there is a 50 percent (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E trait. These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy. 

If both parents have hemoglobin E trait, it is possible, with each pregnancy, to have a child with Hemoglobin E disease or Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia Disease (E/β Thalassemia disease). These are lifelong illnesses, and if you have Hemoglobin E trait, you should receive genetic counseling for the risk of inheritance of these diseases. This is why it is important to understand how Hemoglobin E trait is passed on, and how it can affect the health of your children and grandchildren.


Hemoglobin E/Beta (Eβ) Thalassemia Disease

People inherit Hemoglobin E/beta thalassemia from their parents. If one parent has Hemoglobin E trait and the other parent has beta thalassemia trait there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia (Eβ) disease. This is a lifelong illness that can result in serious health problems. People with Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia should be treated by a physician.  These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy.

Hemoglobin E disease

People with Hemoglobin E trait can also have a child with Hemoglobin E disease. Hemoglobin E disease is not a form of sickle cell disease. People with Hemoglobin E disease normally do not have serious medical problems related to the disease. People with hemoglobin E disease may have mild anemia.


What if both parents have Hemoglobin E trait?

If both parents have Hemoglobin E trait there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E disease. These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy.

Review – How Hemoglobin E trait, Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia disease, and Hemoglobin E disease are inherited

If one parent has Hemoglobin E trait and the other parent has normal hemoglobin, there is a 50 percent (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E trait.

If one parent has Hemoglobin E trait and the other parent has beta thalassemia trait, there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E/beta thalassemia disease.  Hemoglobin E/Beta Thalassemia disease is a lifelong disease that can cause serious health problems.

If both parents have Hemoglobin E trait, there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Hemoglobin E disease. People with Hemoglobin E may have health problems and mild anemia.

The only way to know if you have Hemoglobin E trait is to have a standard blood test.

Talk to your physician about genetic testing and counseling if you or a member of your family has Hemoglobin E trait.