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38% of Marriages Taking Place in KSA Ignore Premarital Screenings

Premarital ScreeningsAccording to Nawaf Al-Otaibi, who is in charge of the premarital testing program in , although medical tests reveal health risks, over half of Eastern Province couples proceed with marriage despite the results of such tests. Internationally, about 38% of marriages take place in spite of evidence of health risks. Since 2004, pre-marital screening for recessive-gene disorders and infections is required by prospective couples like HIV and hepatitis.

Saba Al-Harithy said “What is the point of these tests? If people are still allowed to do what they want to. Why make it mandatory for every couple who disregard the medical aspect of their relationship”. The Civil Affairs Department, which is responsible for registering marriages and issuing family ID cards, has ignored the results of these health screenings that are required from Saudi law. Dr. Noha Doshaha, the Health Ministry official mentioned “We cannot control people and their choices. They will do what they want”. In relation to the hereditary diseases like sickle cell anemia and thalassemia passing down to generations, became the key especially through consanguineous marriages.

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