Dating my blood related cousin

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Then there is that extraordinary increase in Pakistani children with genetic disorders in Birmingham – a 42 per cent rise in six years, which cannot be attributed solely to new and better diagnosis of such conditions given that the number of children from a white British background increased by 18 per cent in the same period.Clinicians in the city estimate three-quarters of the Pakistani cases are a result of a first-cousin marriage.Her twin brother Ahmed died aged just two-and- a-half.Her elder sister Tahira has serious learning difficulties, and another brother, Kasim, born just two years after Sarfraz’s death, had problems so severe that he required 24-hour care and did not live to see his 18th birthday. Yet the real tragedy is not only that their experience is far from rare, but that it could have been avoided.Perhaps it is an indication of a reluctance to address the issue that there are no collected statistics on the number of disorders linked to consanguineous marriage.We obtained our figures through Fo I requests, asking children’s hospitals to break down the number of patients they have seen with genetic disorders by ethnicity. They show that in Sheffield, for example, 20 per cent of affected children are of Pakistani descent compared with a background population of four per cent.The hospital does not routinely record patient ethnicity but a clinician, who declined to be named, confirmed a significant number of the cases involve first-cousin marriages.One of the fundamental stumbling blocks is, controversially, the way that many of those affected interpret their faith.

Yet it remains discussed only with extreme reluctance.Dramatic as this picture is, the true overall figures could be higher still, as our data does not include statistics from London’s Great Ormond Street, which deals with some of the most complex cases.The number of children treated there for genetic disorders has jumped by a third in five years.Medical professionals fear being labelled racist, while individuals among the groups most affected are reluctant to be seen as disloyal.Aisha herself is prepared to be criticised by her own community, and is unequivocal in her belief that not only must it accept the latest figures as proof of a growing problem but that action is needed to address it – even if that means taking genetic tests before marriage and in the early stages of pregnancy to prevent further heartbreak.‘This is a matter of life and death,’ she says.

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