Beta Thalassemia Trait

(Also known as Beta Thalassemia Minor)



What is Beta Thalassemia trait?

People with beta thalassemia trait do not have Beta Thalassemia disease or sickle cell disease. They cannot develop these diseases later in life. They can pass beta thalassemia trait to their children.


Why is it important to know if I have Beta Thalassemia trait?

Beta thalassemia trait is inherited from one’s parents, like hair or eye color. Normally, beta thalassemia trait does not cause any health problems. Beta thalassemia trait is also known as Beta Thalassemia Minor. If one (1) parent has beta thalassemia 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 beta thalassemia trait. These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy.

Parents who have Beta Thalassemia trait can have a child with Beta Thalassemia disease or Sickle cell disease (Sβ+ Thalassemia or Sβ0 Thalassemia disease). This is why it is important to understand how beta thalassemia trait is passed on, and how it can affect the health of your children and grandchildren.


Sickle Beta (Sβ) Thalassemia Disease

Sickle beta thalassemia disease is a type of sickle cell disease. If one (1) parent has beta thalassemia trait and one parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell disease.

How is Sickle Beta Thalassemia Disease Inherited?

People inherit beta thalassemia from their parents. If one parent has beta thalassemia trait and the other parent has sickle cell trait there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell (Sβ) disease. Sickle cell disease is a lifelong illness that can result in serious health problems. These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy.

Are there different types of sickle cell disease?

Yes. These are the three most common types of sickle cell disease in the United States.

To learn more about the risk of inheriting hemoglobin SS disease or SC disease, please see Sickle Cell trait and Hemoglobin C trait.


Beta Thalassemia disease

People with Beta thalassemia trait also can have a child with Beta Thalassemia disease. Beta thalassemia disease is not a form of sickle cell disease, but it is a serious lifelong illness. People who have beta thalassemia disease do not make enough hemoglobin. The amount of hemoglobin a child can produce, determines whether a child has:


What if both parents have Beta Thalassemia trait?

If both parents have beta thalassemia trait there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Beta Thalassemia disease. Beta Thalassemia disease is a lifelong illness that can result in serious health problems. These are the possible outcomes with each pregnancy.

Review – How Beta Thalassemia Trait, Beta Thalassemia Disease, and Sickle Cell Disease (Sβ Thalassemia Disease) are inherited

If one parent has beta thalassemia 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 beta thalassemia trait.

If one parent has beta thalassemia trait and the other parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell disease (Sickle beta thalassemia disease). Sickle cell is a lifelong disease with serious health problems.

If both parents have beta thalassemia trait, there is a 25 percent (1 in 4) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with Beta Thalassemia disease. Beta thalassemia disease is a lifelong illness with serious health problems.

The only way to know if you have beta thalassemia trait, is to have a simple blood test.

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