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Guest Aryan

Need help on marrying my first cousin

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I am in love with my first cousin (Mother's elder brother's daughter) and she loves me too. I need some advice on marriage and prospects of children.

Cousin marriage is generally not practiced in my family though it is not altogether prohibited or unheard of in my community.

My father and my cousin's mother are not related even distantly (at least for 4-5 generations as I know but cannot confirm beyond it). All members of both families are generally hale and healthy but do have few lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes and High BP. This disease is so common in South India where I hail from that I am very likely to marry a girl with a family history of these diseases even if do not marry my cousin. Also most deaths in my family are natural, due to heart attack, at old ages ranging between 75 to 90 years. Even my cousin's mother's family are quite similar in their health profile with women being affected more with Diabetes, High BP and heart issues.

My question is would I need to go for genetic counselling before marriage with my cousin? None of my family members have problems other than the above common ailments I have mentioned.

Since cousin marriage is generally not practiced in my family would I stand to benefit from it as there would be reduced risks because inbreeding is not rampant or continuous in my family?

Would there be any problems with our children, either in their physical development or mental capabilities?

Please help.

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Aryan,

The genetics and associated risks are fairly well known, but even if you were not related, with the incidences of these non-related (no pun intended) conditions so prevalent, you would still be well advised to see a genetic counselor. The overwhelming chances are, that any children would be just fine. Up until a GC would find evidence to indicate otherwise, I would NOT stress over this aspect in the least. 

You are in a somewhat unique position as compared to most members and guests here who are from India, in that, you are cross cousins, and, in the South, where it IS permitted. That said, since it isn't so common in your family, you may still encounter considerable resistance from your family. My advice would be, to have all of the facts, including the Marriage Act, on hand to provide evidence for your case. I would also emphasize the fact that when these marriages are either arranged or encouraged, it is to have the opposite effect of what your family may perceive. That is, they may think it will drive the family apart, but when it is accepted and preferred, it is to draw the family ties closer, along with keeping a measure of the family wealth within the family. Emphasize the benefits of this arrangement in a well thought out manner, and firmly stand your ground.   

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Aryan,

Me and my first cousin married for a long years already. Weve 3 children and they both healthy and smart.

Here in Philippines highblood and diabetes number illness of people here both my family and my husband have it.

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Thanks Esmeralda. I would like to know how old are your kids? and if they are old enough, are they affected adversely by these common ailments that you say both you and your spouse have?

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Aryan,

The genetics and associated risks are fairly well known, but even if you were not related, with the incidences of these non-related (no pun intended) conditions so prevalent, you would still be well advised to see a genetic counselor. The overwhelming chances are, that any children would be just fine. Up until a GC would find evidence to indicate otherwise, I would NOT stress over this aspect in the least. 

You are in a somewhat unique position as compared to most members and guests here who are from India, in that, you are cross cousins, and, in the South, where it IS permitted. That said, since it isn't so common in your family, you may still encounter considerable resistance from your family. My advice would be, to have all of the facts, including the Marriage Act, on hand to provide evidence for your case. I would also emphasize the fact that when these marriages are either arranged or encouraged, it is to have the opposite effect of what your family may perceive. That is, they may think it will drive the family apart, but when it is accepted and preferred, it is to draw the family ties closer, along with keeping a measure of the family wealth within the family. Emphasize the benefits of this arrangement in a well thought out manner, and firmly stand your ground.   

Thanks Hawk. I would like to know the reason you suggest that I see a GC. Should I do it as a normal course of action, as in even if I were to marry outside my family, just to ensure there are no risks of genetic abnormalities? If that is the case, your point is taken.

What it also means is that there are no added risks just because we happen to be cross cousins. Is that correct?

As you have rightly mentioned cross cousin marriages are indeed permitted in South India and it is legal too. There would be no legal repercussions whatsoever. As regards my family, they do not know of it yet but I'm reasonably confident we would get a favourable treatment.

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