Twenty eight patients with thalassaemia intermedia and their parents were interviewed using specifically designed questionnaires to evaluate psychosocial burden. Hospital notes were analysed for clinical burden. A wide variation was found for both patients and parents, ranging from virtually unaffected to severely affected. Normal sexual function and setting up a family were mentioned by patients and parents as being particularly important for quality of life. Over half (58%) of the patients had problems with sexual maturation and functioning, and continuous monitoring of all patients with thalassaemia intermedia by a paediatric endocrinologist is therefore strongly indicated. Most parents said, in light of their experiences, that they would opt for prenatal diagnosis and termination of affected pregnancies even if a genotype predicting the mild form of disorder were discovered.
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