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Question about Birth Defects

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I was just wondering because I couldn't find anything on the site regarding the chances of half cousins having a healthy baby. I know for first cousins the chances of having a baby with birth defects rests around 1.5-3% chance. But what about for half cousins what would be our chances for having healthy children when we do have them? Thank you very much.

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nessa, you're absolutely right....

and eflo is absolutely right too, IF he means "increased risk"...

everybody, even unrelated, has a risk factor of around 3%. first cousins have a 1.4 to 2.8% increase of risk. (essentially, the risk of having a birth defect CAUSED by being cousins is 1.4 to 2.8... and then they still have the 3% risk of other types of birth defects.)

first cousins once removed and half cousins are the same, as far as genetics and birth defects are concerned. eflo, i know on our genetic info pages, you'll find the information for 1st cousins once removed. long story short, here's how it breaks down...

unrelated couples: 3% risk

2nd cousins: 3% risk

half cousins or 1st cousins once removed: up to 4.4% risk

first cousins: up to 5.8% risk

now all of those are basic, background risks taken from the entire population of the world. different things can change those risk factors for individuals. for instance, let's say that a couple of cousins know without a doubt (because they've both been tested or both have the condition) that they both carry a specific autosomal-recessive gene. then that specific couple will have a 25% chance of passing that disorder on to their child. or let's say that the last 7 generations in your family have all married their first cousin... meaning you, your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, etc ALL were first cousins... then yes, you're going to have a significantly higher risk of passing down a birth defect. 

odds are, neither of those scenarios applies to you. if you are considering having a child, why not get some peace of mind and see a genetic counselor? most insurance companies will cover that.

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