Among many cultures, the marriage between close relatives, besides being a heartfelt union, is a deeply ingrained custom passed down through the ages. This practice is deeply rooted in many parts of the world and their diasporas, forming a web of connections that grows vertically and horizontally through time. Beneath the surface of familial ties lies intriguing challenges and outcomes. Are we naive enough not to comprehend the complexities, or are we just turning a blind eye to the genetic dilemmas of this traditional practice? This blog will walk you through the complexities of consanguineous marriages. So buckle yourself up to negotiate the curves and turns of custom, love, and science behind the intertwined genes!
1. Keeping It in Line
Consanguineous marriage is a long-established practice of marrying within the family, particularly the first or second cousin or, at least, within the community. This custom is embedded in diverse cultures across the world. Having a long history, the practice is widely accepted and carried over in many communities.
2. Tied by Taboos
Approximately one billion people in different countries all over the world find themselves where family marriages are the norm. One in three is married to a second cousin or even a close relative, or they are descendants of such marriages. Up to half the marriages are consanguineous, particularly in parts of South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The main culprits are matchmaking in the narrow confines of communities and deeply rooted taboos against inter-caste marriages.
3. Preserving the Legacy
Marrying inside the family is considered to preserve the family wealth. The possibility of preexisting peaceful relationships amongst in-laws provides an additional degree of stability. Furthermore, a common misconception is that divorce rates are lower in these close-knit families due to comparable socioeconomic standing and shared customs. People want to preserve a legacy by entwining lives under the same family tree.
4. The Hidden Perils!
While the customs remain steadfast, a silent genetic health crisis lurks within the walls of consanguineous marriages. The repercussions? Severe congenital disabilities and neurological disorders, driving infant mortality rate to as high as 80%. Compared to non-consanguineous marriages, the prevalence of birth abnormalities soars to 6% in bloodline marriages. This emphasizes how important it is to strike a balance between tradition and health.
5. Beyond Traditions!
Though traditions are practiced for a long time, breaking some can drastically improve health outcomes. We can pave the way for a healthier genetic makeup by raising the social acceptance of intercaste marriages. It is time to extend the boundaries of matchmaking. Advocating mandatory genetic screening and counseling can help one understand the language of genes. Accepting change does not necessarily mean abandoning traditions; it is one step toward a healthier and more inclusive future!
Caste and religion have no bearing on genetics. Ignoring this reality can be perilous and lead to further health issues on the road. It is time to break free from the long-standing roots of consanguinity. Together, let us defeat this silent threat and pave the way for a future unfettered by genetic constraints.