Genetic disorders are the most common cause of infant mortality in Arab nations. Genetic disorders induce approximately 20 percent of the infant mortality rates in developed countries.
According to Dr. Rupali Chopra, Lab Director, IGENOMIX, genetic disorders are caused by abnormalities in the human genes and can be hereditary, i.e. passed down from generation to generation or due to De novo mutation in which case it has occurred for the first time in the family due to a mutation in the egg, sperm, or the fertilized egg itself.
Genetic Disorders in Arab Nations
About 90 percent of the Arab population are carriers of genetic disorders. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 10 in every 1000 live births suffer from genetic disorders. You might not be aware of it, but you could be a carrier of a disorder. In Arab countries where 40 to 50 percent of consanguinity first cousins marriages take place, the risk of having a child affected with a genetic disorder is as high as 19.7 percent.
Alpha Thalassemia affects 15.30 percent of the population in Arab regions. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that affects a human body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, a vital component of red blood cells that is responsible for carrying out oxygen to some of the most vital organs. It is due to this abnormal component of the red blood cells that the child remains blood deficient and has to rely on blood transfusions throughout his/her life.
The Importance of Awareness
You may be a carrier of a serious genetic disorder like Thalassemia without even knowing about it. Carriers are otherwise healthy people who may or may not have a family history of genetic disorders. Screening for genetic disorders is the first step to detecting the history of the genetic disorder and helps in identifying the anomalies in genes that could lead to dangerous disorders that could often result in harming the entire generation in the future. If both partners are carriers of the same genetic mutation, the chances of having an affected child are 25 percent.
Apart from Alpha-Thalassemia, there are a few genetic disorders like Hemophilia, Glycine Encephalopathy, Polycystic Kidney Disease and more that are prevailing in the Arab population which are not curable, but can only be prevented.
Genetic disorders are not curable, but they can be prevented with IGENOMIX’s Carrier Genetic Test (CGT). CGT is an important family planning test to determine the risk of having a child affected with genetic disorders. It is a simple blood test carried out before conception that can prevent serious genetic disorders which do not have a cure, and can only be prevented. “In cases where both the partners are carriers of the genetic disorder, the risk of having a child affected by the genetic disorder is 25 percent. Couples who are identified with a high risk of transmitting the genetic disorder to their child are strongly advised to go for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) at the time of conception to ensure that genetic disorder is not passed on to the child” says Francisco Rodríguez, Business Head (Middle East), IGENOMIX.
PGD Can Help You Conceive A Healthy Baby
PGD screens the embryos for the genetic mutation wherein both the parents are a carrier of genetic disorder. PGD enables selection of those health embryos which are not affected by the genetic disorder. Couples who are already undergoing IVF should consider additional pre-conception screening to identify any genetic disorder which their baby might be at an increased risk of developing.