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How a Man and Woman, Both with a Sickle Cell Anemia Mutation, Had a Healthy Child

A man and woman who are both carriers of the sickle cell anemia mutation can have a healthy child by fertilizing eggs in a lab, then deciding which of multiple embryos that develop from the eggs will become the baby, a case study indicates.

It also showed that umbilical cord blood stem cells from a healthy baby born this way could be used to treat a brother or sister with sickle cell anemia.

Sickle cell anemia is an autosomal recessive disease, meaning that a child has to inherit two mutated copies of the hemoglobin gene to develop it — one from each parent. If a child inherits one mutated copy and one normal copy, they will have sickle cell trait, a condition that generally shows no symptoms.