Editors: Lutfi A. Jaber, Gabrielle J. Halpern

Consanguinity – Its Impact, Consequences and Management

Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $96
Printed Copy: US $96
ISBN: 978-1-60805-889-1 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-888-4 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2014
DOI: 10.2174/97816080588841140101


Consanguineous marriages have been practiced for hundreds of years, predominantly by Moslems. Although it is generally accepted among communities that the social advantages outweigh other, the rate of congenital malformations and genetic diseases among the offspring borne of consanguineous marriages is higher and an increase in sterility, rates of abortions, stillbirths and neonatal deaths has been suggested by some researchers. These problems result in a substantial economic burden within the communities involved in the practice. Strategies for reducing the frequency of consanguineous marriages include expansion of educational programs, promotion of genetic testing services, and research to identify the genes responsible for genetic defects. Nowadays, with the migration of large numbers of Moslems towards Western countries, consanguinity is becoming a practical issue in places where it was barely known, previously. This eBook serves as a guide for health care workers and counselors of the phenomenon and its associated problems. This eBook begins with an introduction of the topic from a social, legal and biological perspective. It then progresses to research about associated genetic disorders, reproductive and social awareness issues through the proceeding chapters. The eBook concludes with 2 chapters exploring strategies to counter the effects of consanguinity within the general population.


Consanguineous marriages have been common throughout human history and remain, even nowadays, frequent in a large part of the world. While consanguineous marriages have become very rare in the industrialized world, immigration from developing countries has increased their frequency, and, as a result, in many of those countries a significant percentage of the children are born to consanguineous couples.

Over the centuries, the social advantages of consanguineous marriages were evident, while the medical consequences were known but not considered important. The concerns about the medical consequences of consanguinity became particularly relevant after the dramatic reduction in neonatal mortality mainly due to the successful treatment of infectious diseases. In the last decades, congenital malformations and genetic diseases have become major factors underlying neonatal mortality in many developing countries. The mounting awareness regarding prevention of congenital and genetic disorders is generating an increasing number of studies on their relation to consanguinity.

The book edited by Professor Lutfi A. Jaber and Dr. Gabrielle J. Halpern provides a broad overview of the various facets of consanguinity including social and religious aspects as well as various characteristics of its medical impact. The various chapters written by the editors as well as by additional experts in their respective fields not only allow the reader to understand better the wide range of medical problems linked with consanguinity, but also propose strategies to reduce the burden. The book should be useful to all those working in communities in which consanguineous marriages are frequent.

Joel Zlotogora
Adjunct Professor of Human Genetics
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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