Monday, June 27, 2011

A Doctor Recommends Genetic Counseling

The headline of this story incorrectly says that an expert in Kuwait “warns against incestuous marriages.”

Incestuous marriages in Kuwait in recent years have resulted in the births of at least 40 sufferers from genetically transmitted diseases, according to a senior doctor.

I would like to know how this compares to the general population. In other words, how many births were there total, and how many of the babies are sufferers from genetically transmitted diseases?

In an interview published yesterday, Dr. Sadeeqa Al-Awadhi, a consultant geneticist and chairperson of the Kuwait Medical Genetic Center, warned that marriage between first-degree relatives increases the possibility of genetic diseases and medical conditions in any resulting offspring, especially amongst those families who have already experienced such medical conditions.

The distinguished medical expert explained that genetic diseases and medical conditions are less likely to be passed down to children if only one parent is a carrier; when both parents are from the same family, this probability of both being carriers and of passing the condition on to any child produced increases dramatically.

Remember, a 3% chance increasing to a 6% chance is a 100% increase, which could be called dramatic.

Dr. Al-Awadhi urged all those considering marriage to "listen to the medical advice and not be ashamed of any disease" that runs in the family. Before getting married, she said, Kuwaiti couples should report to the Kuwait Medical Genetic Center for testing for various medical conditions.

Notice that the doctor didn’t tell consanguineous lovers not to marry, contrary to the headline. She just told them to be informed. Anyone seeking to have children should be informed. Anyone having children should consider their family’s genetics and should consider getting tests and counseling. We should not deny consanguinamorous people their rights to marry. Looks like there are many "first degree" relatives in Kuwait enjoying consanguineous marriages.
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