Cousin relationships are a relatively accepted form of consanguinamory, but generally still discouraged. One doctor has suggested that the distaste in the United States may be partially due to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century.
Though largely unknown to both doctors and the general public, medical geneticists have known for a long time that there was little to no harm in cousins marrying or having children. Data from 2001 indicates that children produced by cousins have only a 1.5–3% risk of developing birth defects, but any couples without recessive traits have no increased risk. First cousins once removed have an increased possibility of 0.75–1.5%, whereas second cousins have no higher risks than unrelated couples. Double first cousins have approximately twice the risk of other first cousin relationships, and first cousins born to identical twins have a significantly higher risk as well, but these latter relationships are rare. Similar results were discovered by Dr. Arno Motulsky in 2002, who stated that infants born to couples have only a 3–4% of developing serious problems (such as spina bifida or cystic fibrosis), and first cousins add merely 1.7–2.8% to that background risk.
Interviews of People in Cousin Relationships
- A Beautiful Love Enduring Prejudice (First Cousins)
- Here's an interview with a woman legally married to her first cousin, once removed. Her marraige has been rejected by her father.
- Experienced Mother Offers Help to Others (A Woman With Her Son, Daughter, and Niece)