What is sickle cell trait and sickle cell trait screening?
Sickle cell trait is inherited, and many individuals are not aware that they carry this trait. Sickle cell trait is not sickle cell disease and it can never become sickle cell disease. However, health experts recommend that individuals learn their sickle cell trait status and consult their medical provider on what it means for them. It is estimated that about 1 in 13 Black or African American babies in the U.S. is born with sickle cell trait, which means they have inherited the sickle cell gene from one of their parents. Individuals with sickle cell trait are eligible to donate blood. Donations from individuals without the trait may be able to help a patient facing a sickle cell crisis.
For a limited time, the Red Cross is screening donations from self-identified multiracial and Black or African American blood donors for hemoglobin S, a key indicator of sickle cell trait. This screening, which may provide our donors with valuable health insights, will be part of the blood donation testing process and free of charge to donors.
Note: The Red Cross is offering an initial screening test to provide donors with valuable insight into their sickle cell trait status. The Red Cross is not testing donations to diagnose sickle cell disease.