Consanguineous Marriage and Associated Risk of Congenital Malformations: A Study among the Muslims of Barpeta District, Assam

Consanguinity refers to the practice of marrying or having children with close relatives. Congenital malformation, on the other hand, refers to physical or structural abnormality that is present at birth. Consanguinity can increase the risk of congenital malformations because close relatives are more likely to carry same harmful genes which can increase the risk of child inheriting two copies of the same harmful genes. The present study was conducted among the Bangla speaking Muslims of Barpeta district, Assam because among the Muslim consanguineous marriage is a permissible form of marriage. The aim of the study is to look into the frequency of consanguineous marriage and also the prevalence of congenital malformation among the children born out of consanguineous mating. Genealogical method was used to assess the consanguinity status of the population. A total of 836 married couples have been considered under the present study out of which 273 are consanguineous marriages and 563 are non-consanguineous. Data have been collected from two geographical locations, Char (mid-channel bars) and Non-char (built up area). The average coefficient of inbreeding for char areas is 0.035229 and for non-char areas is 0.0291. The populations mean coefficient of inbreeding for char areas is 0.004003299 and for non-char areas is 0.0026358. The combined mean coefficient of inbreeding is 0.003335722. The frequency of consanguineous marriages is found to be high in char(40.68%) than non-char(25.93%). A statistically significant result has been observed in the prevalence of congenital malformations among the children born out of consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages.