Thalassaemia is a group of genetic blood disorders characterised by the absence or reduction in the production of haemoglobin. Severity is variable from less severe anaemia, through thalassaemia intermedia, to profound severe anaemia (thalassaemia major). In thalassaemia major other complications include growth retardation, bone deformation, and enlarged spleen. Blood transfusion is required to treat severe forms of thalassaemia, but this results in excessive accumulation of iron in the body (iron overload), removed mostly by a drug called desferrioxamine through 'chelation therapy'. Non-routine treatments are bone marrow transplantation (which is age restricted), and possibly hydroxyurea, designed to raise foetal haemoglobin level, thus reducing anaemia. In addition, psychological therapies seem appropriate to improving outcome and adherence to medical treatment.