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Experts warn against family intermarriage

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Experts warn against family intermarriage
Abha: Experts in the Kingdom have warned against family intermarriages or marriages among relatives which leads to increased likelihood of genetic diseases including sickle cell tumors, blood diseases, and other genetic diseases among children. They also called on the media to raise awareness about the negative effects of such marriages.
Dr. Abdul Rahim Qari, internal medicine, hematology, and oncology consultant and director of the Qari Medical Center for Hematology and Oncology, said inbreeding is on the rise in the Kingdom with the majority of marriages taking place in rural or tribal areas. 
With the rate of marriage between relatives in the Kingdom far exceeding that of Western countries, health problems are likely to remain an issue, he said. Although the health cases occur at a rate of 2 percent in every 100 marriages, the issues are often too complex and treatment can be very difficult or even impossible, he stressed. 
According to Qari, the majority of diseases due to inbreeding include blood diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or G6PD deficiency.
“There are recessive traits and dominant traits, and we find that sickle cell anemia and thalassemia traits are recessive, which means that the emergence of this disease must be linked to genes in the father and the mother. There are so many genetic diseases, which may emerge in some of the children due to the gene being present in one of the parents,” he explained.
He pointed out that medical examination of the prospective couple would greatly help to identify any issues and if the results show that there is a gene that could to diseases in the children, the government should refrain from issuing an approval for the marriage.
According to family, educational and psychological consultant Dr. Nadia Nasir, the phenomenon is mostly present in rural or provincial areas. “It is difficult to change the beliefs of these people despite awareness of genetic diseases,” she said.
Dr. Mohammed Nujaimi, a member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, added that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, spoke openly about avoiding inbreeding. He said there is a consensus among doctors and jurisprudence experts on the issue, namely that preference should be given toward marrying a woman who is not a relative, due to the possibility of inherited diseases in children.


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