Change of plan. We’ve had a string of problems getting the guests we need to set this discussion up. Some people won’t come on air to talk about their experience, others are simply unable to make today’s show. We may return to it another day when more people are available. We’re definitely going to speak to people affected by the Chinese quake, and we may go for another subject. I’ll update here when we decide. In the mean time you’re welcome to keep discussing Fuchsia’s post on cousins…
According to a report in the Observer newspaper, scientists and health experts in Britain are bracing themselves for a row later this month, when they will discuss the fraught topic of marriage between first cousins and its effect on public health.
Apparently such marriages are common in the British Pakistani community – and this may be connected with an unusual prevalence of rare recessive disorders. One MP, Ann Cryer, is calling for a ban on first cousin unions; while Muslim doctors and some geneticists say the cultural advantages of marrying your relatives are high and the risks low.
Do you think it’s OK to marry your first cousin? What are the cultural advantages? What about the risks?
And is it any of the state’s business, anyway, who has children, and with whom? One academic quoted in the article points out that the likelihood of having a child with Down’s Syndrome increases with maternal age, but no one suggests that women over 30 should be banned from having kids. Could a ban on first-cousin marriages be a step towards other forms of state-sponsored eugenics?