IT’S TIME TO STOP GLORIFYING COUSIN MARRIAGE
In our society, we hardly see anyone marrying off the family. They prioritise marrying their children in the family even after being aware of the hazards. Instead of thinking about the future of their children, they just want to get rid of them, so they find someone suitable in the family and gets them married. They are unaware of what the future holds and how dangerous it will be for the new generation.
Cousin marriages are a common practice in our society but what does the science say about marrying your close relatives? There have been numerous studies on the subject as well as views from different sectors.
A relationship between first cousins doubles the risk of children being born with birth defects, according to a study seeking answers to the higher rates of deaths and congenital abnormalities in the babies of the Pakistani community. Researchers have concluded that the cultural practice of marriage between first cousins is a bigger factor than any other. Marriage to a blood relative accounted for nearly a third (31%) of all birth defects in babies of Pakistani origin.
The risk of having a baby with birth defects – usually heart or nervous system problems which can sometimes be fatal – is still small, but it rises from 3% in the general Pakistani population to 6% among those married to blood relatives. Every year there are about 90 more baby deaths than expected in the Pakistani community. But the issue is highly sensitive because marriage within families is an established cultural tradition.
Cousin marriage in the Pakistani culture is a very serious deep-rooted issue and is not easy to create awareness about it. It has been going on for centuries and will take decades to finally ban cousin marriages. It is our duty to step up and save the next generation so they can live a healthy life.