Genetic Disorders Expert Forum
marrying second cousin
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Questions in the Genetics Forum are being answered by medical professionals and experts. This forum is for questions and support regarding a person’s predisposition to a variety of medical conditions such as Ashkenazi Jewish Diseases, Bleeding Disorders, Blood Clotting Disorders, Cancer Genetics and Hereditary Cancer Syndromes, Chromosome Abnormalities, Congenital Birth Defects, Cystic Fibrosis, Family History, Fragile X Syndrome, Infertility, Newborn Screening, Rare Genetic Disorders, Prenatal Screening and Testing.

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marrying second cousin

i would like to know if there will be any birth defects with the child if i marry my second cousin ............... she is my mothers, first cousin sisters, daughter ....  please help !!!!
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Genetic counseling may help you to put your risks in context. Everyone has the risk of having children with problems, but because cousins share the same close ancestors, it is slightly more likely that they might share a disease gene.

Second cousins are fifth degree relatives and are predicted to share 3.1% (1/32) of their genes.  In contrast, first cousins are predicted to share 12.5 % (1/8) of their genes.   The closer the biological relationship is between parents, the greater proportion of genes shared, and the greater the chance to have a child with birth defects.  

The background risk that every couple faces of having children with birth defects is about 2-3%.  Genetic counseling will help define this for you personally based on your family history and ethnic background.

There are no special tests for cousin couples. The same tests a genetic counselor would discuss with any couple thinking about having children based on family history and ethnicity is what you should expect.

You can find a genetic counselor in your area through the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
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