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- Prenatal Screening for Hemoglobinopathies
- Newborn Screening
The hemoglobinopathies encompass a heterogeneous group of disorders associated with mutations in both the alpha-globin and beta-globin genes. Increased immigration of high-risk populations has prompted the implementation of prenatal and newborn screening programs for hemoglobinopathies across Europe and North America. In Canada, the UK, and other European countries, prenatal screening to identify hemoglobinopathy carriers and offer prenatal diagnostic testing to couples at risk is linked to newborn screening, while in the United States, it is still not universally performed. The structure of screening programs, whether prenatal or postnatal, universal or selective, varies greatly among these countries and within the United States. The laboratory methods used to identify hemoglobinopathies are based on the prevalence of hemoglobinopathies within the population and the type of screening performed.
Advances in molecular testing have facilitated the diagnosis of complex thalassemias and sickling disorders observed in ethnically diverse populations. This review summarizes the current approaches and methods used for carrier detection, prenatal diagnosis, and newborn screening.