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For your reference, this increase in birth defect rate is about the same as the increased risk of a woman having a baby when she is 40 vs. Proponents here point out that few would advocate banning a 40 year old woman from having children. In fact, in a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Yemen and in the Palestinian Territories, paternal parallel cousin marriage is the preferred form of consanguineous marriage.

They also point to recent testing that placed the increased risk of spina bifida and cystic fibrosis at only 1.7% -2.8% higher than for children of unrelated parents. Cousin Marriages Today Globally, cousin marriages are still going strong, with an estimated 10% of all marriages in the world being between cousins, and has high as 50% in some regions of the world.

However, first cousin marriage is far more common, and far less dangerous, than many of us have been led to believe, as you’ll soon see.

Further, if you include second cousins in the mix, according to the , the increased risks with regards to having children are nearly non-existent in this case compared with non-cousin marriage.

Perhaps it's worth adding that the United States is the only nation in the world with legal restrictions against first cousin unions.

In most cases, the state laws in question were originally based upon data indicating a high incidence of birth defects in children of first cousins or closer relatives. It's true that more recent studies have demonstrated that this risk is not as high as previously thought.

and 2) How are these social pressures likely to impact your chances of forging a successful and lasting marriage?

If you feel it would be helpful to discuss your situation with a member of our staff, Focus on the Family has a team of professional counselors available who would be happy to speak with you over the phone.They can also provide you with referrals to qualified therapists practicing in your area.You may contact our Counseling department for a free consultation.The Bible doesn't address the subject of cousin marriage directly.According to Leviticus 18:6-18, a man is forbidden to marry the following: Notably, cousins are not included in the list.

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