J Haem Pract 2016; 3(2):1 - 8. doi: 10.17225/jhp00077

Authors: Alpha-Umaru Barrie

Alpha-Umaru Barrie
Clinical Nurse Specialist/Research Nurse, Haemophilia Centre, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, WC1N 3JH, United Kingdom. E-mail:


Knowledge about genetic inheritance as a concept in children and young people with bleeding disorders is synonymous, in many ways, with other inherited genetic conditions. Children and young people have a more physiological understanding of inheritance, but may hold mistaken and inaccurate beliefs in understanding basic genetics. There are complex ethical and social problems in the genetic testing of youngsters with bleeding disorders to establish carrier status. Current guideline recommendations indicate circumstances where clear psychosocial and medical benefits can be demonstrated. However, children and young people have a reduced capacity to understand the tests and their implications, and in many cases family communication may impact the extent of disclosure of genetic risk factors. This paper explores the genetics of inherited bleeding disorders, including basic knowledge of the concept of inheritance and reproductive risks. Carrier status in children and young people will be considered, drawing on legal rulings that may shed light on best practice in establishing carrier status based on genetic testing. Communication patterns within families around inherited bleeding disorders and the complicated process of disclosure will also be discussed.


This paper was written as an assignment on the Essentials of Haemophilia course run by the Haemophilia Nurses’ Association and Canterbury Christ Church University


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