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article imageMany babies born with disorders because parents are cousins

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 23, 2010 in Health
Hundreds of children in the UK are being born with genetic disorders every year because their parents are first cousins.
Channel 4s Dispatches prepared a report stating that in Britain's Pakistani community, more than 50 per cent of people marry their first cousin, and in Bradford 75 per cent of ethnic Pakistanis do so.
About one quarter of those in the UK's Bangladeshi community follow this practice, and it is common in some Middle Eastern and East African communities.
“It also happens in the white British community: Dispatches features a couple, first-cousins-once-removed, whose daughter died of a genetic disease,” says an article on the Channel 4 web site.
The reporter interviewing affected families, Tazeen Ahmad, is the grandchild of first cousins. Her grandparents had five children die before they were 10, and three that were deaf.
Many British studies have shown the risks of first cousins having children, but many still deny the dangers or say they should not be made public.
The Telegraph reported that many people were upset with Ann Cryer, the former Labour MP for Keighley, for talking about the issue.
"It's a public health issue and we deal with public health issues by raising awareness, by talking about subjects such as obesity, such as drug addiction, such as alcohol," she had said.
"But for some reason we're told that we mustn't talk about cousin marriages because this is a sensitive issue.
"I think it's absurd, we have to talk about it in order to find solutions."
More about Children, Born, Genetic, Disorders, Cousins
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