Consanguineous matings among Egyptian population
Consanguinity is the blood relationship that exists among individuals that descend from a common ancestor. The objectives of the study was to explore the frequency and socio-economic determinants of consanguinity in Egypt. The study was carried out using a cross-sectional approach which included 10,000 unselected couples. All couples were recruited from the prenatal, gynecologic, neonatal and pediatric clinics as well as vaccination centers in three hospitals one in Lower Egypt (Cairo) and two in Upper Egypt (Sohag and Assuit). Consanguineous marriage is still high in Egypt (35.3%), especially among first cousins (86%). However the frequency varies by region. It is higher in Sohag (42.2%) and Cairo (36.1%) than in Assuit (21.7%). Also it was higher in rural areas (59.9%) than in semi-urban and urban areas (23.5% and 17.7%, respectively). It was associated with decreased age of marriage, low educational level and unemployment in the couples which means that the socio-economic determinants are still working in maintaining this high rate of consanguinity. This is in addition to the high divorce rate and increased number of unmarried females in Egypt. Advances in genetics have led to a deeper understanding of the effect of inbreeding on the occurrence of genetic diseases. As prolonged parental inbreeding has led to a background of homozygosity above that predicted by simple models of consanguinity, we encourage counselors to call on a reliable computer program for calculation of the recurrence risks in these families.
Keywords: Consanguineous marriage; Socio-economic; determinants; Recurrence risk; Egypt