The risk of giving birth to babies with genetic defects as a result of marriages between first cousins is no greater than that run by women over 40 who become pregnant, according to two scientists who call for the taboo on first-cousin families to be lifted.Women in their forties are not made to feel guilty about having babies and the same should apply to cousins who want to marry, said Professor Diane Paul of the University of Massachusetts in Boston and Professor Hamish Spencer of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. The group is people who are married to their cousins.These people note that 20 percent of marriages around the world are between first cousins, that Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin married their first cousins, and that first-cousin marriage, while prohibited in half the United States, is legal in Canada and throughout Europe.
Through a combination of old prejudices and present-day conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children.
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This is true both of devout Christians as well as those who may have some vague, indiscernible root in the Christian faith.
president married his fifth cousin, once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt.
The two met as children but become close at a party at the White House hosted by the president at the time, and shared relative, Teddy Roosevelt. The author of the eerie “The Island of Dr Moreau”—a science fiction novel about a doctor who creates human-like beings out of animals—did some dangerous mixing of genes in his own life and married his first cousin, Isabel Mary Wells.