Consanguineous marriage and the reproductive risk: attides and understanding of ethnic groups practising consanguinity in Western society

M.E. Teeuw, G. Loukili, E.A.C. Bartels, L.P. ten Kate, M.C. Cornel, L. Henneman

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Consanguineous couples should be adequately informed about their increased reproductive risk and possibilities for genetic counselling. Information may only be effective if it meets the needs of the target group. This study aimed to gain more insight into: (1) attitudes of people belonging to ethnic groups in Western society towards consanguinity and their understanding of risk for offspring; and (2) their attitudes regarding reproductive information targeted at consanguineous couples. Dutch Moroccans and Turks were invited to complete an online questionnaire by snowball sampling and by placing a link on two popular Dutch Moroccan/Turkish forum websites between September and October 2011. The questionnaire was completed by 201 individuals who were, on average, neither positive nor negative towards consanguinity. Respondents with a consanguineous partner were more positive, estimated the risk for the offspring lower and were less positive about the provision of risk information to consanguineous couples when compared with respondents without a consanguineous partner. Participants of Turkish origin had a more negative attitude towards consanguinity and estimated the reproductive risk higher than Moroccan participants. More than half of the respondents thought that information should be given before marriage, whereas only 10% thought it should never be provided. The general practitioner was most often mentioned (54%) as the designated professional to inform people. Information about genetic risks related to consanguinity should be offered early, preferably before marriage. The diversity of the target population requires various strategies to disseminate information and reach consanguineous couples with the offer of genetic counselling. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-457
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean journal of human genetics
Issue number4
Early online date7 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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