You have found this perfect person that you are completely in love with! But where is the guarantee that your children will be born healthy? It does not happen often, but sometimes the partners can be incompatible by genotype. Find out everything about genotype compatibility.
What is genotype?
Genotype is a genetic identity of the person. This term can also indicate the certain gene or set of genes which is carried by the person. There is also a term “phenotype”, which describes your physical characteristics – not only the obvious ones like the hair and eye color but also the general health condition, the history of diseases, and character traits. Not all the phenotypes are influenced by genotype. For example, if you love dogs, it might be rather a result of your experience with these animals, than the gene that you were born with. However, some of your preferences are indeed dictated by the genotype specifics. The majority of phenotypes are the influence of both genotype and life circumstances. This is why people emphasis on “nature and nurture”.
People who are incompatible based on their genotype have a big risk of giving birth to a child with sickle cell disease, which is a serious issue that significantly reduces the lifespan and makes a person struggle physically. This is why before getting serious with your partner you will have to pass a genotype test because otherwise there is a high chance that your child will be born with sickle cell anemia.
The child's genotype will directly depend on the parents' genotypes combination. In the past, there was a high mortality rate among children who were born to parents with incompatible genotype, and no one knew how to help it. Nowadays, the doctors have found different ways to ease their pain, but the disease is still dangerous, so you are strongly recommended to prevent your future children from this fate.
Even if you do not have a partner yet, it is important to know your own genotype and undergo medical tests that determine it because it can not only influence your own life but the life of your future children as well. Below, you will learn more detailed information about genotype compatibility for marriage.
Genotype and marriage
Of course, if you have met someone extremely special, someone, who understands you and treats you like the best person in the world, you will be head over heels with this person, and genotype compatibility will be the last thing in your head. However, you should not disregard this factor, because it can be really influential on your romance or marriage one day. True love might conquer everything, but this factor is beyond the romantic side of things – it can be vital for the health of your future child. So, if you have a partner, it is really necessary to check the hemoglobin genotype.
There are a few genotypes that determine your traits and the traits of your future children. They are AA, AS, AC, and SS. The genotype AC is quite uncommon, and together with the genotype SS, it is considered abnormal, and the genetic specialists refer to them as sickle cells. As for AA and AS, they are normal genotypes that can be found the most often. Children’s genotype depends on the combination of the genotypes of their parents. Usually, children that are born to the same parent have different genotype – the exception can be twins, triplets, or multiples that were in the same womb.
Before the genetic medicine became popular and prominent, the rate of mortality among children was really high because people did not possess any knowledge about genotypes and blood groups. The people’s ignorance was what caused them to consider children’s death to be curses or bad luck. However, genetic science changed everything. Nowadays, the scientists and medical specialists provide a lot of solutions to various complications. Due to the high infant mortality, the scientists became invested in this issue and discovered the existence of sickle cells.
What is a sickle cell, may you ask? This is a definition of the red blood cells disorders, which are inherited. There is a disease called sickle cell disease, which shows itself by blocking the blood vessels and slowing down the oxygen flow. Those who struggle with sickle cell disease usually have the abnormal amount of hemoglobin, which is also referred to as the “sickle hemoglobin” in the person’s red blood cells. Hemoglobin is supposed to carry the oxygen all through the human’s body. In case the red blood cell does not get the optimal amount of oxygen, the original shape of it will change. This is the common result of the abnormal amount of hemoglobin. The patients who have sickle cells are prone to sudden pain attacks, which usually happen without warning. The person who struggles from this disease often needs to attend the hospital for getting treatment.
Sickle cell disease can only be inherited. It is not contagious and can not be passed from one person to other. This disease only gets passed down from parents to children. Those who struggle with sickle cells usually inherit two hemoglobin cells that are abnormal, and these are S. So, basically, if both parents have S in their genotype, there is a chance of them giving birth to the child with hemoglobin SS genotype or sickle cell anemia.
According to the scientific research carried out by genetic professionals, people who have AS, SC, or SS genotype risk having children with SS, in case they get married to someone with AS/SS genotype. It is known that if the man with AS genotype has children with the woman with AS genotype, one of their four children will have SS. This is just a theory, but there is always a chance that this one child will be their first.
One in four children can also be explained as four in sixteen, so basically four first children can have SS genotype. In this situation, the couple would need to have more than ten children for standing a chance to give birth to a baby whose genotype will be AA or AS.
This scientific knowledge shows why the partners have to undergo the hemoglobin tests in order to determine if they have the excess amount of it in their blood. Usually, if both partners have an excess hemoglobin S in their blood, they have a high chance of giving birth to the child with SS, so it is recommended they go back on the idea of having children together.
READ ALSO: Importance of family traits and how they will affect your children
Best genotype for marriage
If you know your genotype, it will help you to determine the right person for marriage. People with AS are strongly not recommended to marry other people with AS. If you start dating someone, it would be the best to find out their genotype during the earlier stage of a relationship before you become close.
Here are the examples of genotype compatibility:
- AA and AA – excellent
- AA and AS – good
- AS and AA – normal
- AS and AS – bad
- AS and SS – really bad
- SS and SS – the worst
Why is it important to know the genotype of your partner?
As you see, it is important to know your genotype before you start dating people, because marrying someone with incompatible genotype might result in a lot of problems for your children in the future. It is strongly advised you make the right decision.
Ignorance towards sickle cell disease can result in serious problems. Usually, people with this illness are not expected to live for long. The level of seriousness varies depending on the person, as well as symptoms and consequences of the disease, but it is known that even in first world countries the average life expectancy of patients with sickle cell disease is 40 to 60 years.
In the past, namely in the 1970s, the average life expectancy of the person with sickle cell disease was only fourteen years – and this was in the United States. However, many things changed since then in the progressive world. The science has gone far, and the appropriate medical care for sickle cell disease patients has been discovered. The medical care programs have become significant for people who struggle with this disease. Nevertheless, in the poorer countries, for instance, many of the African ones, the mortality among sickle cell disease patients is still high, including at the infant age. So, knowing the genotype of your partner is more important than you might think.
Of course, there were some exceptions when the people with sickle cell disease lived a long life. However, they were rare. Usually, those who decided to procreate with the high level of hemoglobin S gave birth to children with the serious illness.
Also, you probably need to know that people with AA genotypes are really prone to the disease called malaria, which they can get at the infant age and sometimes at the adult age. In general, being aware of your genotype will help you understand more things about your health and help to deal with typical issues. As people say, prevention is more effective than cure.
Of course, when you ask yourself “who to marry?”, the answer is – you should marry the person that you love, someone who is your best friend, support, and shoulder to cry on. However, before marriage, you need to weigh all the pros and cons. Maybe it does not happen often, but just in case you and your partner turn out to have incompatible genotypes, you will have to think twice before having children together because they can later go through lots of health hardships. Hopefully, genetic specialists will introduce a good cure to the sickle cell anemia in the nearest future, because they have already made the life of these patients much better, and their lifespan became longer.
If you would like to know your genotype, there are a few different ways. You can go through a blood test at the hospital or take a complete test on the website 23andMe, which will determine not only your genotype but a lot of other additional information about you. Perhaps your older relatives are aware of your genotype, so you could try asking them.
This was the basic information about genetic compatibility between two partners. We wish you to find someone who you will be compatible with you in all aspects.
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