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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facts and Fairness Regarding Cousin Relationships

Even over at discussion website republicanoperative.com, which appears to focus on partisan politics in the US, some questioned why there would be laws against consanguineous marriages or consanguinamory, which are inconsistent with other laws. I don't know whether he lifted it from somewhere else or compiled it himself, but Dacabeti thoroughly and effectively addressed cousins marrying and having children together.


1. If I use Trekky's flawed logic then anyone with any type of genetic defect should be morally and legally stopped from having children.


2. Most people here have no idea about the genetic chances of passing on genetic faults. Be it incestuous or not.


The following is not an endorsement of Incestuous marriage; This is informational only. Taken from the experts in this field. This study is about Cousins not siblings.


The Journal of Genetic Counseling has an article by Dr. Arno Motulsky, a professor emeritus of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington. I his article Dr Motulsky references many studies and quotes leading geneticist. In the general population, the risk that a child will be born with a serious problem like spina bifida or cystic fibrosis is 3 percent to 4 percent; to that background risk, first cousins must add another 1.7 to 2.8 percentage points. ''In terms of general risks in life it's not very high,'' Dr. Motulsky said. Even at its worst, 7 percent, he said, ''93 percent of the time, nothing is going to happen''. He and his colleagues said no one questioned the right of people with genetic disorders to have children, even though some have far higher levels of risk than first cousins. For example, people with Huntington's disease, a severe neurological disorder that comes on in adulthood, have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease to their children. The researchers, a panel convened by the National Society of Genetic Counselors, based their conclusions on a review of six major studies conducted from 1965 to August 2000, involving many thousands of births. Dr. Motulsky said medical geneticists had known for a long time that there was little or no harm in cousins marrying and having children. ''Somehow, this hasn't become general knowledge,'' even among doctors, he said.


The president-elect of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Robin L. Bennett, who is a co-author of the report and a genetic counselor at the University of Washington, said: ''Just this week I saw a 23-year-old woman whose parents were cousins, and she was told to have a tubal ligation, which she did at the age 21, because of the risk to her children. And there's no risk to her children. People are getting this information from small-town doctors who may not know the risk, don't have access to this information and just assume it's a big risk.''


Women 40 years of age has a 1-in-100 chance of having a baby with a birth defect and a women 45 years of age has a 1-in-30 chance of having a baby with a genetic defect. A common birth defect is down syndrome. Since we don't ban old women or the disabled from reproducing, genetic defects as an argument against incest holds no value.


18-20% of pregnant women are in abusive relationships: are four times more likely to miscarry, or to have low birth weight or premature babies, and related health problems. - Allowed to have children


 20.4% smoke cigarettes: causes a 1.4 - 2.5% increase of low birth weight and related problems, learning disabilities, and cleft lip and/or palette. - Allowed to have children


25% are teenagers: Adolescent mothers are 2 to 6 times more likely to have a child with low birth weight or prematurity and its related problems, as well as infant mortality rate and SIDS. Teenagers are also at greater risk for anemia, blood pressure problems, and complicated deliveries. - Allowed to have children


What the experts say


"In terms of legislation, personally I don't feel laws against cousin marriages are necessary. I think the legislators could focus on an education program for cousin relationships. Perhaps funding could be found for vouchers for genetic counseling services for those without medical coverage. I don't feel people should be mandated to see genetic counseling, but every obstacle should be removed to allow them the opportunity."

~ Jacquelyn Krogh, MS, CGC

"We do not restrict people with autosomal dominant disorders such as Huntington disease who have a 50:50 risk to pass the condition to their children from marrying or conceiving! There is no social pathology associated with marrying a cousin and in fact cousin marriages are the norm in many parts of the world..."

~ Robin L. Bennett, MS, CGC

In the near future I would expect more states to make it illegal but, eventually the facts will become known and the trend will reverse. There is no evidence to support the notion that generations of cousin marriage in itself results in genetic problems. The evidence indicates quite the opposite. One must challenge any statements about the dangers of cousins marrying and make people aware of the facts. That way the next generation may give up the myth.

~ Martin Ottenheimer, Professor of Anthropology

I'm not against healthy relationships. I've not come across any research to suggest that cousin relationships, between two consulting adults are damaging psychologically in any way. Cousins share an exclusive history with each other. It's a relationship where you don't have to create a shared history or experience. You have a head start on intimacy, in a sense the work is already done for you.

~ Dr. Robi Ludwig, Ph.D. 

Fun Facts 

25 states allow cousins to marry. (some require genetic counseling) 

It is estimated that 20 percent of all couples worldwide are first cousins. It is also estimated that 80 percent of all marriages historically have been between first cousins!
 
Leviticus 18 lists all forbidden sexual relationships. Cousin relationships are not included
 
G_d commanded many cousins to marry, including Zelophehad's 5 daughters, Eleazar's daughters, Jacob (who married both Rachel and Leah, first cousins), and Isaac and Rebekkah (first cousins once removed)



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