A hemophilia (Hee-mo-FEE-lee-ah) carrier is a female who has the gene that causes hemophilia A (Factor VIII) or hemophilia B (Factor IX) deficiency. Factor VIII (8) and Factor IX (9) are needed for the blood to clot normally.
The genes for Factor VIII and Factor IX are on the X chromosome (CROW mo sohm). Males have one X and one Y chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes. A male gets an X chromosome from his mother and a Y chromosome from his father. A female gets two X chromosomes - one from each parent. The Y chromosome cannot help to make the Factor VIII or Factor IX for the blood to clot normally. Therefore, boys with a change in the Factor VIII or IX gene on their X chromosome will have hemophilia.
Carriers are females who have one working hemophilia gene and one non-working hemophilia gene. The working gene can produce Factor VIII or Factor IX. For this reason, many carriers will have Factor VIII or Factor IX levels in the normal range. Sometimes a carrier’s factor levels are too low and the person may have bleeding symptoms. This person is called a symptomatic (sim toe MAT ick) carrier.
About 1 out of 4 hemophilia carriers will have symptoms. For those with symptoms, bleeding can be mild or severe. Bleeding may happen as:
The severity of bleeding depends on the level of Factor VIII or Factor IX in the blood.
There are two blood tests that can be done to find out if you are a hemophilia carrier.
If you are a symptomatic carrier, be sure to tell your doctors and dentist (especially surgeons and your gynecologist). Adult women receive care at The Ohio State University Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC). Children are seen at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Treatment for symptomatic carriers may include medicine such as desmopressin acetate (DDAVP; see HH-V-120 DDAVP for bleeding disorders) and/or Recombinant Factor VIII or IX.
Symptomatic carriers need to:
If you or your child is a hemophilia carrier, call the doctor for:
Hemophilia Carrier (PDF)
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