Geefvoorlichting over bloedverwantschap als risicofactor voor aangeboren afwijkingenInformation should be given on consanguinity as a risk factor for congenital malformations

Publication authors

Cornel M.C.; Houwink E.J.F.; Houwink P.E.F.


In the Born in Bradford study, an increased risk for congenital anomalies was found in the Pakistani subpopulation of Bradford, where cousin marriage is relatively frequent. While consanguinity may be associated with a risk for congenital malformations, it does not prove a causal relationship. Whatever the case, high perinatal mortality as well as the high prevalence of congenital anomalies are good reasons for implementing the knowledge on reproductive risks that has been available for many years. Well-known risk factors include higher maternal age, that was associated with congenital anomalies in the British mothers. Further research in an intervention study may provide more data on whether the associations found are causal. Implementing preconception care should involve primary care physicians, who need both facilities and training. In the Netherlands, the high perinatal mortality, especially in some big cities, could profit from similar interventions. Dutch primary care physicians consider it their responsibility to discuss consanguinity with patients, although there is some reluctance because of anticipated religious and social value conflicts. Without information reaching the target populations, they may lack awareness and will not ask for information themselves. People from Dutch migrant groups would prefer to be informed about reproductive risks of consanguinity by their primary care physicians.