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8 Feb, 2024 07:40

Only genetically compatible couples should marry – Russian doctors

Local health officials have dismissed the idea of testing potential parents before allowing them to tie the knot
Only genetically compatible couples should marry – Russian doctors

A number of doctors in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan have proposed requiring couples to undergo genetic compatibility testing as a guarantee they will have healthy children. A certificate would have to be provided to the registry office before the wedding ceremony.

The chairman of the State Assembly Committee on Health, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs, Salavat Kharasov, said that some doctors and scientists have been pushing for genetic screening, in which a DNA test would be conducted on prospective parents aimed at uncovering whether they are at risk of conceiving a child with a disorder or disability.

“We are seeking to increase the birth rate, but there is another side of it – when children are born sick, it is associated with genetics,” Kharasov stated, adding that he questions the ethics of forcing couples to take tests before receiving permission to marry.

The head of the region’s Labor Ministry, Lenara Ivanova, also criticized the idea, saying it would put extra stress on potential parents.

Around 25,000 children are born with hereditary/congenital diseases in Russia every year, according to the country’s Health Ministry. Moscow expanded its newborn screening program in 2023 to include 36 genetic disorders. Early detection of a genetic disorder helps in providing timely treatment, but not in preventing disease.