A premarital test is a test that offers a crucial health assessment of soon-to-be married couples in which they are tested for genetic, infectious and transmissible diseases to prevent any risk of transmitting any disease to each other and their children.
Marriage is considered a remarkable event in a couples life, as they plan to start a family, and through which they usher in a new stage in terms of building emotional, social, familial and healthy relationships.
Premarital testing programs should educate couples, providing accurate and unbiased information. Family background, hereditary factors, age, diet, exercise, weight management and addictions all contribute to the bigger picture.
For couples considering marriage, pre-marital screening helps identify potential health problems and risks for themselves and also their offspring. It is vital for couples to be screened in order to aid them to understand their genetics and help them take the necessary precautions or treatments.
Importance of Pre-marital Screening:
- Gauge the positive health status of prospective bride and groom
- Detect infectious diseases – Hepatitis B infection, HIV, HCV and other sexually transmitted diseases
- Identify carriers of genetic disorders, in order to assess the risk of having children with a severe form of disease. The couple can then choose whether or not to have an affected child. e.g. Thalassemia, Haemophilia and Sickle Cell Disease
Tests that constitute Pre-marital Screening:
1) Routine Investigations – Complete Blood Count (CBC), Complete Urine Analysis and Peripheral Blood Smears to check for normal and abnormal cells. Blood group testing (ABO-RH) is important to screen out the Rh-negative women and counsel them about the risks in pregnancy.
2) Infectious Diseases
VDRL for Syphilis Testing HIV – I and II Hepatitis-B Screening Hepatitis-C Virus
3) Genetic Tests
- Doctor’s usually go for culture based genetic screening. Depending on your family history and ancestry different tests are designed for different disorders like thalassemia.
- The tests are especially referred in ‘Consanguineous marriages’ or relationships by blood or common ancestry, in which the chances of offspring inheriting a recessive allele for a disease are increased. The closer the relationship, the greater the risk.
- Genetic tests are done by analyzing small samples of blood or body tissues.
Our next blog will focus on Thalassemia screening for couples.