Genetic Problems in Cousin Marriages

Probably this is the most inescapable and superfluous debate that cousin marriage more often results in the birth of abnormal children. Abnormalities like physical or mental disabilities are common in such children whose parents are first cousins.

This topic has widely been under discussion that it is very risky to have a child with your cousin. The question is, is it really risky? And the answer is a no with an explanation that this is not nearly as risky as many of the other factors which are without legislation.

It has been shown in the studies that the marriage between cousins, especially the first cousins make the chances double of having a baby with abnormalities and birth defects which sometimes may be life threatening.

It is very much obvious to be conscious and highly concerned about your children. It has been widely brought in the knowledge of all the people that it leaves harmful effects if cousins get married to each other. It is shown in a recent study that in cousin marriages, there is huge risk of some diseases related with genetics but in fact the risk is smaller than most of the people might think. There is a pretty interesting thing about this study which is “the numbers”. It shows that the risk of giving birth to an abnormal child with serious genetic problems is around 4-5 % in couples where both partners are not cousins. It can also be said that out of each hundred infants there are 3-4 children with potential problems. This is what the report says. And if they are first cousins then the risk goes up by 3-2%. This seems to be dangerous having such high rate of risk of abnormalities. But still it has been argued by so many genetic advisers that the risk is so huge to discourage the marriage between cousins.

This gives rise to a question “why all the concern then?”

If it is thought about all of it genetically then we should start seeing that from where the worry comes?

It should be kept in mind that we all possess two copies of each of our genes out of which one comes from mother and the other from the father.  We also have on average around 5-10 disease genes each so how can it be said that we all are not decimate by genetic disorders?

Most of these genes which are prone to cause some types of diseases are recessive which means that both of the copies of those genes are required to forma diseases. The other way can save you from developing any disorder.

Chances of kids getting these genetic diseases would be high of we all shared the same disease genes. But it actually does not happen. Everyone has a different set of hidden disease genes so that the odds are against people each giving one of the same disease causing genes to their kids.

People often give more consideration to cousin marriages as they give the social benefits such as extending families, bringing social stability and marital stability.

It should be broadly disseminate the clear and easy to access information about these risks to local communities and it should also be included as a part of antenatal counseling and in the planning of healthcare services.

About the author

Alina Awan

I am an educationist, a developer and a chief blogger here at I write to accommodate my readers with healthy tips covering all aspects of their lives hoping that they will help them to wade through the ways to survive life and live to tell about it. I cherish reading and experiencing the words. I am a born leader and I never believe in giving up. I believe in “Stand for what is right, even it means standing alone” Follow me on instagram @alinaawan58