Genetic Disorders Expert Forum
2nd cousin
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2nd cousin

Hi There,

Can i marry my own 2nd cousin. This the history of our background. My grandpa and her grandma are siblings. My dad and her dad are 1st cousin. And we have been together for more than 3 years without realizing that we are 2nd cousin. i have to stop the feeling and if i plan to marry her and planning to have children, i am afraid that there will be a genetic problem to the children and the generations. it is very hard for us to stop this kind of feeling as we have been together more than 3 years. i realized that we are cousin 2 weeks ago..

As such, i need your advice and we have to be prepared for any worse outcome..

Yours Faithfully,

Adrian Ng
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Consanguinity refers to when both members of a couple are related to each other by at least one common ancestor.

We all have two copies of almost every gene - one from each parent. In autosomal recessive (AR) conditions, it is typically necessary to have two mutations, one in each gene copy, to be affected. People with only a mutation in a single gene are called carriers, and typically do not have any symptoms of the condition.

It is believed that we all are carriers of at least 8-10 different autosomal recessive conditions. The chance that both members of a couple are both carriers of the same AR condition is increased if they are related to one another, as they each could have inherited a mutation from the same common ancestor.

To give some background information, the general population risk for two non-related people to have a child with a birth defect is estimated at 3-4%. In the absence of a known autosomal recessive condition in a family, the risk for first cousins to have a child with a birth defect is believed to be doubled, 6-8%.

We recommend that you and your partner meet with a genetic counselor, who can review your ethnic backgrounds, as well as your personal and family health histories to provide risk assessment specific to your situation. A genetic counselor can also discuss the benefits and limitations of any available genetic testing options. You can find a genetic counselor through the National Society of Genetic Counseling website or through companies like mine, AccessDNA.
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