Within the South Asian community cousin marriages are a norm and as such figures show that 55% of British Pakistanis are married to their first cousins. It’s a tradition that is being upheld even in the UK as most parents decide their children will find better partners in their own country. The bond between two families becomes even greater once a marriage takes place that binds them both.
However, there has been much debate about the repurcussions of marrying cousins. Genetics play a role in determining a person’s chances of suffering from certain conditions so if two people who carry a recessive gene reproduce, their children have one in four chance of having the disorder and one in two chance of being a carrier themselves. In the Pakistani community, cases like these are rare but still higher than expected. The Born in Bradford study is hoping to provide statistical data by keeping track of 10,000 children born in Bradford to identify rare genetic conditions and further investigate consanguineous marriages. Experts advocate better genetic screening for those involved.
Here are some questions to ponder on..
How many people do you know who are married to their cousins? Let’s start with the family. Are your parents cousins? Are your grandparents cousins? Were your great grandparents cousins? Is the norm changing? Are we marrying from outside the family? Will we get our children married to someone from outside the family?
What are your views?