The carrier states for all the important thalassaemias can be identified, and methods for their prenatal diagnosis are well established. Where this approach is acceptable to families on religious and other grounds it is being adopted as a way of controlling thalassaemia.

  1. Control programmes require screening, either at the population level if the disease is particularly common or, more usually, at the first visit to the antenatal clinic.
  2. Every woman of appropriate racial background should be screened for thalassaemia by a standard blood count with particular reference to the red cell indices.