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Hemoglobin. 2013;37(1):74-9. doi: 10.3109/03630269.2012.745419. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Family planning practices in families with children affected by β-thalassemia major in Southern Iran.

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Hematology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz , Iran.


Preventing the birth of children with β-thalassemia major (β-TM) is an important health issue. We investigated family planning practices and related factors among families with affected children. We selected a total of 569 parents from the parents of patients with β-TM who were registered at thalassemia referral clinics in southern Iran. Information was recorded regarding demographic variables, socioeconomic status and family planning practices. The correlations between family planning practice and related factors were evaluated. Approximately 96.0% of the parents (546) were practicing contraception at the time of the study. Only 12.8% of the families whose first child had β-TM decided to have no more children. The most frequent contraceptive method was tubal ligation (TL) (37.5%) followed by oral contraceptive pills (OCP) (31.5%). Higher education level of the mothers and higher economic status of the families were found to be related with the lower numbers of children with β-TM (p = 0.001). We found a high percentage of safe contraception being used by at-risk couples. It seems that educational programs have been effective in influencing family planning practices. Further attention should be devoted to increasing the knowledge of at-risk couples with a greater focus on parents of low socioeconomic status. Because of cultural factors in Iran, many of these at-risk couples opted to achieve the desired family size, so implementation of a well-organized prenatal diagnostic system seems necessary.

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