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First cousins, can they have healthy children?


Marriage between first cousins ​​is frowned upon in many countries and is even illegal in some. There is still a belief that healthy children cannot be born from first cousins. It is thought that from this union children are born with genetic problems, with malformations, mental disorders, with Down syndrome or that there are more possibilities of abortion in pregnancy.

There are many statements that today remain true despite their little scientific basis. Various investigations, however, contradict all these beliefs and myths. On our site we answer this question: From marriage between first cousins, can healthy children be born?

The risk that the children of first cousins ​​are born with congenital defects is the same as in women over 40 years old, at least this is what genetic specialists Diane Paul and Hamish Spencer, members of the Human Genetics Commission and specialists in genetics from the Universities of Massachusetts (USA) and Otago (New Zealand).

These experts reviewed previous studies in this regard and their results were published in "Plos Biology". They indicated that the babies of marriages between first cousins ​​is 1.7% higher and the mortality rate is 4.4% higher than that of couples who do not have a blood relationship. These are the same figures that appear in women who are mothers after 40 years.

After the data obtained, Paul and Spencer stated that there is no scientific basis that prevents couples who are first cousins ​​from having healthy children. Despite this, today there are countries that prohibit marriage between cousins. This legislation in force, including 31 states of the USA, China, Taiwan and the two Koreas. In many other countries, however, despite the absence of current legislation, it is a fact that is very frowned upon by society in general and the family in particular.

Marriage between cousins it is normal in some countries where it is even promoted, such as the Middle East and, throughout history, we find well-known marriage between cousins: Charles Darwin, married his cousin Emma Wedgwoodkf and they had 10 children, Albert Einstein married his second cousin Elsa and the pianist Jerry Lee Lewis, with his cousin of 13 years. Literature like Edgar Alan Poe, H.G. Wells or Mario Vargas Llosa, also married their cousins. The various monarchies are, of course, full of stories of cousin marriages.

In many societies, however, it is considered an incestuous relationship, since both have shared the same life experience, games, experiences. There is a bond between them similar to that of the brothers. And when two first cousins ​​fall in love, they have to face the judgment of their own family, the conflicts that this causes and even rejection.

That is why many couples of first cousins ​​keep their relationship secret and even when their marriage is formalized, their friends and acquaintances do not know that they are cousins.

What genetics does raise is that If there is some type of history of genetic disease in the family, it should be studied to prevent it from passing to the baby by both parents.

Beyond this, neither babies are born with a pig's tail, nor are children born with Down Syndrome yes or yes, or they are pregnancies that have a high possibility of not reaching term.

Surely you know of a marriage between first cousins ​​from which healthy children were born, At least I know a very close one who continues to live in love and company, whose grown-up children are successful professionals. Far was the family revolution when giving the news and the fears due to the little genetic information about it. And no ... those children weren't born with a pig's tail.

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