Pre-Marriage Genetic Test Mandatory

Pre-Marriage Genetic Test MandatoryPre-Marriage Genetic Test Mandatory

In a bid to prevent birth defects, the State Welfare Organization has plans to make pre-marriage genetic tests and counseling mandatory in the upcoming five-year economic development plan (2016-2021).

Speaking at a national conference of non-government rehabilitation centers, Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpei, head of the SWO, said that prevention of genetic disorders is a high priority for the organization.

Pointing to the 30,000 children born with genetic disorders every year in the country, he said it is essential to make pre-marriage genetic tests mandatory, and the SWO is trying to provide such services in collaboration with 250 specialized centers, ISNA reported.  

“In this regard, we have signed memorandums of understanding with the public notary offices in four provinces including Kerman, based on which they have agreed not to register marriages of couples who don’t conduct genetic tests.”

Consanguineous marriages are one of the main causes of genetic disorders that can be prevented by a simple test.

Kerman in southern Iran has shown relatively high levels of EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa), a group of life-threatening skin conditions that affect children from birth, and thalassemia, both genetic diseases, thought to be caused by marriages between close relatives such as second cousins or closer. This is why Kerman Province is one of the main focuses of the SWO.

Thalassemia is a blood disorder involving less than normal amounts of an oxygen-carrying protein (hemoglobin) and fewer red blood cells in the body than normal.

The official said that prevention based on evidence is one of the three approaches of the organization and the other two include standardization of services and promoting public participation. He stressed the importance of exploiting the potentials of NGOs to develop both the quality and the quantity of welfare services.

Bandpei also referred to the absence of official statistics on the total costs of rehabilitation services “as serious negligence” adding that preparing such data is another major strategy of the SWO.