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Marrying your cousin if your parents are cousin

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Guest Kareem

My first cousin (my father's sister's daughter) is the most amazing lady I've ever met. We are from a Middle Eastern background, although living in England, and there's no stigma attached to cousin marriage in our country of origin. Some of our relatives noticed how close we were and advised us to get married but I never felt comfortable with the idea, even though I really love her. My own parents are first cousins, so that makes her my first cousin on my dad's side and my second cousin on my mum's side and I'm worried that the genetic risk to our children will be even higher than the risk to children of two first cousins. Secondly, we do have diseases which may have a genetic component in our family. Both me and my aunt (her mum) have type 2 diabetes. One of my dad's brothers and my paternal grandmother died from leukaemia and his other brother is suffering from it now. We also have a history of OCD in our family and I've had it before. Thirdly, psychologically I've always been confused about whether I should see her as something like a sister or as a potential partner. This is probably the most confusing situation I have ever been in and I'm really not sure what to do. I've told myself to forget about marrying her and try and find someone else but I can't get over her at all. So my questions are, is there an increased risk in our case, with us being first cousins and me being the child of first cousins? If we have children, will they have an increased risk of diseases like diabetes and leukaemia, or perhaps even OCD? Is there any way to find out for sure? Would really appreciate any advice.

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genetics can influence diabetes, although i'm not sure whether it is autosomal dominant or recessive. if it's dominant, then WHO you marry is irrelevant. you'd need to talk to a genetic counselor to be certain on that one, but the important thing here is that while genetics may influence it, genetics do not CAUSE it. feed your children healthy. make sure they get plenty of exercise. that's far more important than avoiding marriage. diabetes is rampant, because we have such crappy diets and lifestyles.

OCD is not genetic that i've ever heard of. 

lymphotic leukemia is not inheritable. however, familial acute myloid cancer with muted cepba (whatever the heck that is) IS... but it is autosomal dominant, not autosomal recessive. that means that (as with diabetes), it doesn't matter whether you marry your cousin or an alien from outer space, the risk to your children is the same. i'm guessing since several people in your family have died from it, that it probably is the myloid with muted whatever... and again, marrying your cousin will not have any affect on whether your children inherit it.

so the only thing left to be concerned about is whether you can overcome your own confusion about how you should see her. if you love her and want to consider marrying her, then go see a genetic counselor and get the answers to your questions from someone who has more expertise than i do... and then make an informed decision together.

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