Explaining Hemophilia Carriers
Hemophilia is a rare blood disorder that primarily affects males, but females can be carriers of the disease. There are two different types of hemophilia carriers: possible carriers and obligate carriers.
According to Steps For Living, the mutated genes associated with hemophilia lie on the X chromosome. If a woman inherits a copy of an X chromosome with a defective XIII gene or IX gene, she may become a carrier of the disease and pass hemophilia onto her sons. Any daughters she has may also become carriers.
A woman is considered an obligate carrier if:
- Her father has hemophilia.
- She has one son with the disease and another close family member with hemophilia, such as a brother, grandfather, uncle, nephew, or first male cousin.
- She is the mother of more than one son with hemophilia.
A woman is considered a possible carrier if:
- Her mother is a carrier.
- She has one son who has hemophilia but no other close family members who are affected by the disease.
- She is a close family member of another carrier, such as a sister, aunt, grandmother, niece, or first female cousin.
Women can be tested to see if they are carriers in two ways. The first is through factor assays, which determine the amount of clotting factor in a woman’s blood. Unfortunately, this is not always accurate as carriers may have perfectly normal levels of clotting factor.
A more reliable way to discover if a woman is a hemophilia carrier is to undergo a genetic test to see if she has either of the mutated genes associated with the disease.
MORE: What causes hemophilia?
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