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Getting marriage with a relative. How to prevent genetic problem during conceiving?

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Dr. Manjeet Mehta

Genetics Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 25 Jan 2013 in Genetics
Question: Hi Doctor,
I am going to marry my uncle daughter, and its a second generation in marriaging a relation. My Dad and mother are different, but her dad and mother are relations. My marriage is fixed after 6months. And i know their is a possibility of some genetic problem may come for our child, but any way we two love each other much. So please suggest what are the preventive action we should take in our life to minimise or stop some genetic problem for our child. Your inputs are very high decision making for our life. Please give your valuable inputs.
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Answered by Dr. Manjeet Mehta 33 hours later
Dear XXXXXXX

Marrying someone who is related to you i.e. a consanguineous marriage, has definitely an increased chance of having a baby with genetic defect(s).
What defect(s) could be possible in the baby would depend on several factors like degree of consanguinity and caste / community.
There are certain conditions which are more prevalent in certain communities.
When you say uncle’s daughter, I am assuming your father / mother’s real brother’s daughter. This is first degree consanguinity.
Are there any genetic conditions known in either of your families (developmental delays, physical dysmorphism, etc.)?
Have there been any sudden medical deaths?
Has any female member of your families had a miscarriage?
Does anyone have any long term medical condition (e.g.: diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc.)?
If your answer to any of the above is yes, you do have an increased chance of having a baby with the major genetic condition.
If you belong to certain communities where genetic conditions are known to be highly prevalent, you could get yourself tested to know if any of you are carriers of that condition.

This is the maximum of ‘common’ advice that someone can give you. Since you are thinking of taking advice, the best thing would be to consult a qualified geneticist in your city. They will guide you specific to your case.

In any case, nowadays no one says not to get married with cousins. Even if you have a high chance of having babies with a genetic condition, get married, plan a pregnancy, then you could get a prenatal testing done and then decide whether you want to continue with the pregnancy or not. After all it is an increased ‘chance’, not that you cannot have normal babies!
Good Luck.

Dr Manjeet Mehta

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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