Abuja - A laboratory scientist, Asuquo Bassey Asuquo, on Monday urged Nigerians planning for marriage to always undergo genotype tests to enable them to know their genotype and avoid sickle cell anaemia.
Asuquo, the Executive Director, Quality Care Community Initiative, an NGO, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Mpape, FCT.
He stressed the need for people to undergo genotype tests at least once before getting married.
According to Asuquo, genotype test enables people intending to get married to know if they are medically compatible with their partner.
"It will help the intending couple to know if they are medically fit to have children; it will also help them to know how to avoid health complications,” he said.
He, therefore, advised Nigerians to always seek the services of laboratory scientists for genotype tests and proper counselling, so as to guard against sickle cell anaemia in their children.
"Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic condition, resulting from genotype cell, which is S in type, also consummating with a genotype that has S.
"If a person having SS genotype marries another with same SS, they will definitely give birth to a child having sickle cell anaemia.
"To avoid such condition, people who have SS genotype must marry people that have AA genotype.
"Also people who have AS genotype must be encouraged to marry people having AA genotype.
"Medically, we do not advise people having AS to marry another person with AS genotype because during the second or third generation, they are likely to bear a child with the SS genotype.
"That is why it is important for people wanting to get married to seek medical advice to know their genotype and compatibility before they get married, so as to avoid complications,” he said.
Asuquo also urged the people to go for medical tests regularly to know their blood group, saying that incompatibility of the blood group could also lead to complications.
He said that it was incompatible for a person having an “O-positive” blood group to marry a person with "O-negative’’ blood group, adding that such unions could lead to miscarriage during pregnancy.
Asuquo said that his organisation had carried a total of 171 voluntary genotype tests and 125 blood group tests for people in its host community since 2011.
He, however, urged stakeholders, particularly medical and religious organisations, to encourage young people planning to get married to go for genotype tests to prevent their children from having unnecessary health problems.