Prenatal and preimplantation diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies

Int J Lab Hematol. 2018 May:40 Suppl 1:74-82. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.12823.


The hemoglobinopathies, as a group, are one of the most common serious monogenic diseases in the world. An accepted and widely adopted approach to reduce the number of new cases involves carrier-screening programs, with the option of prenatal diagnosis (PND) or preimplantation diagnosis (preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disease, PGT-M) for carrier couples. The aim of PND is to provide an accurate result as early in pregnancy as possible, which necessitates prior identification of the parental disease-causing mutations, as well as safe and timely biopsy of fetal material. PGT-M aims to characterize the genetic status of in vitro fertilized embryos during assisted reproductive technology (ART), in a few cells biopsied from oocytes/zygotes or embryos, in order to initiate an unaffected pregnancy. Another application of PGT-M is preimplantation genetic diagnosis for human leukocyte antigen (PGD-HLA), which, in addition to identifying unaffected embryos, also characterizes the embryos that are HLA compatible with an existing affected child requiring a hemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This review outlines the current practices related to these procedures, with emphasis on the aspects related to laboratory techniques. Finally, future prospects related to developments in noninvasive prenatal diagnosis are discussed.

Keywords: diagnosis; hemoglobinopathy; molecular diagnosis; preimplantation diagnosis; prenatal; sickle cell; thalassemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • HLA Antigens / analysis
  • Hemoglobinopathies / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*


  • HLA Antigens