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Dating your own cousin

Although first-cousin marriages are legal in Britain, there have been calls to ban the practice because of reports that it has resulted in a higher-than-average incidence of birth defects in certain immigrant communities where it is common and culturally acceptable.

However, Professors Paul and Spencer said that the risk of congenital defects is about 2 per cent higher than average for babies born to first-cousin marriages – with the infant mortality about 4.4 per cent higher – which is on a par with the risk to babies born to women over 40.

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Go out and reconnect with some of your more distant relatives. The cousin is a part of your family that you can think about every once in a while but really, your cousin is someone that should be considered to be very important to you.

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 cousin is not exactly symbolic of anything like the meanings that we attribute to items or anything like that.

No, a cousin occupies a very different area in our lives and it is one that should be respected and revered because it makes the most sense to do this.

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