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Newborn Screening program 


Hemoglobin Trait Follow-up Program

Trait information and free, voluntary, and confidential ​parent testing

For parents of infants identified with sickle cell trait or hemoglobin C or D trait: call 1 (866) 954-2229

In California, all babies are screened for hemoglobin diseases shortly after birth. The screening method also identifies healthy babies with hemoglobin traits, like sickle cell trait. 

A hemoglobin trait is not a disease. It will not change into a disease. It will not go away, either. Most babies with a hemoglobin trait do not have any health problems caused by the trait.

What is a hemoglobin trait?

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells of all people. It gives blood its red color and takes oxygen to all parts of the body. There are many types of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin A is the most common.

Hemoglobin types are passed down from parent to child in the genes. A hemoglobin trait happens when a baby receives a gene for the usual hemoglobin A from one parent and a gene with a different hemoglobin (sickle cell or S, C, or D, for example) from the other parent.​

 If both parents have a trait, a future child may have a disorder such as sickle cell disease. Parent testing can let you know if both parents have a hemoglobin trait.

The Hemoglobin Trait Follow-up Program provides free, voluntary, and confidential education, trait counseling,  and parent testing statewide to parents of infants identified with these hemoglobin traits:

  • Sickle cell trait
  • Hemoglobin C trait
  • Hemoglobin D trait

The California Newborn Screening Program ​provides the Hemoglobin Trait Follow-up Program ​in partnership with the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation.

California Newborn Screening Program letter  

If you receive a letter from the  California Newborn Screening Program about this topic, it means that your baby is a carrier of sickle cell trait, hemoglobin C trait, or hemoglobin D  trait. For more information, or to schedule parent testing at a lab near you, please call toll-free 1 (866) 954-2229 to speak with a sickle cell trait counselor. When you call, please give the sickle cell trait counselor the service code number listed in your trait notification letter.

If you receive a trait notification letter, information has also ​been sent to your baby’s health care provider. In case you meet with a health care provider who has not seen the letter, please take the letter with you to the baby’s next appointment and discuss it with your provider.

If you think your newborn may have a hemoglobin trait, or if you have not received your trait letter and related educational materials in the mail, please call the toll free number.

For more information

What do I do now?

You can learn more about hemoglobin traits and free, voluntary parent and family testing by calling the Newborn Screening Hemoglobin Trait Follow-up Program at 1 (866) 954-2229, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. ​​All of the services are confidential. 

Parents of infants identified with sickle cell trait, hemoglobin C trait, and hemoglobin D trait, can learn more important information about hemoglobin traits by calling the toll-free number below.

1 (866) 954-2229​

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