Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Discussion

The selected genetic disease is sickle cell disease (SCD) SCD is a genetic disorder of hemoglobin where the sickle Hb occurs together with abnormal Hb. The hemoglobin molecules in the red cells undergo polymerization leading to the deformation of the red cell into a sickle-shaped cell; this causes vasoocclusive events, as well as speeded hemolysis (Aneke & Okocha, 2016) Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Discussion.

Diagnosis of sickle cell disease is a complex issue since the impact of genetic information can be wide-ranging and fickle. Additionally, apart from the consequences associated with such discovery, the discovery may indicate risk to offspring, have significant reproductive consequences, and can lead to burdensome obligations to reveal that risk to other blood relatives (Aneke & Okocha, 2016).


The major ethical issues involved encompass veracity, which is the obligation to reveal information and at the same time respect the confidentiality of the patient. Therefore, the discovery that the patient has sickle cell disease brings ethical issues allied to confidentiality and protecting the patient’s privacy. This is because every family member related to the patient and has a risk of developing sickle cell disease has a right to know their genetic risks (Muthuswamy, 2014). Therefore, this brings in the ethical issue of disclosing the information any family member yet the patient may not be ready to have this information disclosed. At the same time, information regarding the patient having the genetic disease can be stigmatizing and hence this obligates the counselor to keep the information confidential. This also brings in the issue of autonomy and confidentiality vs. the effect of other family members not knowing their risk of developing the genetic condition (Aneke & Okocha, 2016)Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Discussion.

Therefore, the counselor should perform an assessment by obtaining the family history as well as analyze the pedigree chart in order to provide the patient with information about the available treatment options, preventative strategies consisting of reproductive options, as well as financial and social implications of the disease (Ryan et al, 2015). Similarly, the counselor needs to plan for a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s socio-cultural issues. This is because psychosocial impact of the patient condition is extremely critical in the society. Psychosocial aspect during the patient’s counseling should pass through various stages of coping process that include: shock and denial; anger and guilt; anxiety and depression; and lastly acceptance and adjusting. The counselor should handle the patient carefully through all these stages in order to bring her/her out of every stage of coping process (Iyegbe et al, 2014).


Aneke J & Okocha C. (2016). Sickle cell disease genetic counseling and testing: A review. Arch Med Health Sci. 1(4), 50-57.

Iyegbe C., Campbell D., Butler A., Ajnakina O., Sham P. (2014). The emerging molecular architecture of schizophrenia, polygenic risk scores and the clinical implications for G × E research. Soc. Psychiatr. Epidemiol. 49(2), 169–182.

Muthuswamy V. (2014). Ethical issues in genetic counselling with special reference to haemoglobinopathies. Indian J Med Res. 134(4): 547–551.

Ryan J, Virani A & Austin J. (2015). Ethical issues associated with genetic counseling in the context of adolescent psychiatry. Applied & Translational Genomics. 5(1), 23-29.

Samson A. (2015). Management of Sickle Cell Disease: A Review for Physician Education in Nigeria (Sub-Saharan Africa). Anemia. 1(1) Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Discussion.

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