Marrying your cousin is common in certain religions, communities and some Middle Eastern & Asian countries. The question arises should you marry your cousin; knowing that there maybe serious genetic problems with the children thus produced!
We know that families that practice cousin marriages experience higher incidence of recessive genetic disorders. Genes are molecules found within our bodies that carry the code of life or DNA. Marrying someone from the same genetic pool increases the likelihood of passing on diseases. A study by the National Society of Genetic Counselors states that having a child with your first cousin raises the risk of a significant birth defect from about 3-to-4 percent to about 4-to-7 percent. The report revealed that the Pakistani community in Bradford, England accounted for 30 per cent of all births with recessive disorders, despite representing 3.4 per cent of the birth rate nationwide. Read the telegraph article here.
All families carry potentially hazardous genes. Marriages with in the same genetic pool can sometimes bring out these hazardous genes and cause the expression of serious or non serious medical conditions. People against marriages within the same genetic pool argue that this is akin to playing Russian roulette with the genes.
However, those for marriages between cousins state that the risks are often overstated. In USA, many states ban the marriages between cousins while in Europe cousin marriages are allowed. There are reports which state that the risks are often over – estimated and that the actual risk may be less. But, the jury is out on this issue.
So, whether you should marry your cousin or not is entirely up to you. But do consider the pros and cons of doing something like this.