WE don’t choose who we fall in love with, even if it’s our cousin.
Here’s what you need to know about marrying your cousin and starting a family with him.
Can I marry my cousin in the UK?
It is currently legal for you to marry your cousin in the UK.
This means that you can marry the children of your aunts and uncles.
However, there is a great dispute over morality.
Studies have shown that it can increase the likelihood of defects in children.
Here you can find out in detail who you are allowed to marry and who not.
Can having children with cousins affect babies?
There is a higher chance that it will affect your children.
Every child has 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one chromosome from each pair being inherited from the mother and the other from the father.
The chromosomes contain the genes you inherit from your parents.
Hereditary disorders and defects can show up in a child in different ways, but the one that might relate to cousins having children is called autosomal recessive inheritance.
This means that the disease can only be passed on to a child if both parents have a copy of the faulty gene – both are ‘carriers’ of the disease.
And this is more likely if the parents are related.
Conditions that are passed along this pattern include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs disease, but there are many others as well.
If a person has no known disease or disorder, they can still carry the gene and be a carrier, which would be recessive.
If only one parent has this and the other doesn’t, their child may be a carrier of the gene but will definitely not develop the disease – it means they can then pass the carrier gene on to their own children.
When two recessive genes of the same disorder or disease come together, one from each parent, there is a one in four chance that the child will develop that disorder, according to the NHS, and the child has a 50 per cent chance of being a carrier.
In the context of first cousins marriage, the cousins are more likely to carry similar genes and therefore two recessive genes are more likely to come together.
Studies have shown that a child born to first cousins is more likely to have birth defects than two people who meet by chance, since first cousins share 12.5 percent of their DNA, according to a 2002 study im Journal of Genetic Counseling.
Because of the overlap, there is a 1.7 to 2.8 percent greater risk of intellectual disability and genetic disorders than the general population, says Robin Bennett, the lead author of this study.
Diversity in genetics helps prevent disease.
However, there are still far-reaching views on the subject.
Alan Bittles of the Center for Comparative Genomics in Australia says the risk of birth defects increases from around 2% in the general population to 4% for first cousins and “to ban it would be a mistake”.
Hamish Spencer, chief of zoology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, told ScientificAmerican.com the increased risk is “comparable to a 40-year-old woman having children, and we think that’s perfectly acceptable.
“I can’t think of any law that says they can’t have children.”
Marrying a first cousin is a common practice in the Pakistani community.
And a study conducted in Bradford, where many Pakistanis live, showed that when two family members procreate, birth defects increase.
Marriage between first cousins more than doubles the likelihood of having a child with potentially life-threatening defects, it has been shown.
Out of 11,000 births between 2007 and 2011 in Bradford, more than 2,000 babies were born to cousin parents.
The children had a six percent chance of having an anomaly from birth, compared to the average of three percent.
Children born to related but not first cousin-born parents also had a higher risk of anomalies.
What relatives can not get married?
Just because you can marry your cousin doesn’t mean you can marry every relative in your family tree.
There are relatives in the family whom you cannot marry, no matter how much you love them:
- Siblings and half-siblings cannot marry each other.
- A parent cannot marry his son or daughter.
- You cannot marry any of your grandparents.
- You cannot marry your parents’ siblings – that is, your aunts and uncles.
- You cannot marry your nephews – i.e. the children of your siblings.
- Adopted children cannot marry their genetic parents or grandparents or their adoptive parents.
Which famous people have their cousins married?
There are many famous people out there who have made headlines for marrying their cousins.
Here we name a few:
- HRH Elizabeth, Queen of England, and her late husband Prince Philip were third and second cousins respectively, having removed and married in 1947.
- Biologist Charles Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgewood in 1839.
- Queen Victoria married Albert, Prince Consort, her cousin, in 1840.
- Albert Einstein’s second wife was his second cousin Elsa.
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5515092/cousin-marry-uk-children-birth-defects/ Can I marry my cousin in the UK and will this affect our children? – The US sun