Can you marry your non-blood relative

Received on 09/19/2012
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of the Deputy Venier

and another MP

to the Federal Minister of Health


concerning so-called relative marriages and their follow-up costs



So-called relative marriages and the resulting procreation of offspring are common in various cultures around the world, especially in Islam. Unfortunately, this practice is also "imported" by immigrants to Europe and Austria


For example, Antje Schmelcher reported in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” from 06.06.2011 under the title "One doesn't talk about (and research) about it:

“When cousins ​​have children, the risk of a genetic defect increases. And indeed: many children with hereditary diseases come from relatives. They are a tradition with immigrants. (...) Around every fourth woman of Turkish origin in Germany is married to a relative. This was the result of a study by the Federal Center for Health Education on family planning and migration in the life course of women. It was presented in Berlin last October. A little more than 800 women of Turkish origin in Germany were interviewed. Result: In the first generation, relative marriage was more widespread with 33 percent than in the second generation with ten percent. These marriages were also more common among women with low qualifications and those who had grown up in the country. The degree of relationship was not asked.

There is no talk at all about the additional risk that children are born disabled. Clarifying this is particularly difficult, because legally it is indeed a family matter. In no European country is the marriage between cousins ​​and cousins ​​punishable. That is why the state is not allowed to capture them. In Germany only marriage between siblings, between parents and children and between grandparents and grandchildren is prohibited. But the fact that you marry within your relatives at all has become alien to the Germans. In traditional Islamic societies, on the other hand, marriage of relatives is still widespread - although the Koran also forbids marriage within the immediate family. A prominent role model for the recognized path was Fatima, the fourth daughter of the Prophet Mohammed from his first marriage. Fatima was married to the son of her paternal great-uncle. This marriage has the ethnological term "parallel cousin marriage" or "Bint-amm marriage". Through her, the fortune could stay in the paternal family.

The more traditionally an Islamic community lives, the more related marriages there seem to be. In Turkey, their frequency is estimated at 20 to 30 percent, in Oman it is two to three times higher, as the director of the Institute for Medical Genetics at the Berlin Charité, Stefan Mundlos, says. This means an immense problem for the small country, since the risk of having children with congenital diseases for related parents is twice as high as for parents who are not blood related.

There are only a few studies with reliable figures on the extent of the handicaps of children of blood relatives in Germany. It is extremely difficult to record these cases statistically, says Mundlos. The often cited statistics from the practices of private doctors providing human genetics and prenatal advice, to which of course blood-related couples often also go, have no reference value and are therefore not very meaningful. In scientific studies, too, judgments are usually very cautious. The authors of the latest report by the Robert Koch Institute on Migration and Health suspect that relatives' marriages could be the reason why in 2004 a fifth of all children in a pediatric metabolism center in Düsseldorf were of Turkish and Kurdish origin. Congenital metabolic diseases and other genetic diseases are observed more frequently in children of Turkish origin, but also in children from the Middle East and North Africa, according to the report.

(...) There are diseases that often cause severe physical impairment, such as the familial Mediterranean fever, which causes chronic inflammation up to kidney failure. Others lead to severe intellectual disabilities or they make the children apathetic. "


A similar report can be found at, designed on July 31, 2008 by the radio medium RBB, broadcast "Contrasts“.


The health damage for offspring from the so-called relative marriages is also confirmed by various medical professionals. This is what the doctor Dr. Robert Maiwald on this:

Offspring from related marriages are at increased risk of genetic diseases. (...) Relationship marriages, e.g. the connection between a person and his / her cousin, are one in Central European culture

rather rare connection. In other countries, such as the Eastern Mediterranean, they are traditionally much more common. Offspring from such compounds can in some cases show malformations, mental disabilities and / or impairments of the sense organs. The risk of this genetic damage increases the closer the partners are related to each other: while

The risk for unrelated couples is 1-3% for severe malformations and 3-5% for all malformations, for example it is twice as high for a simple first-degree cousin / cousin couple. (...) Hereditary diseases in relatives marriages usually follow a so-called autosomal recessive inheritance. With this inheritance, both copies of a critical gene must be defective for the disease to occur. People with only one defective copy of the gene are almost always normal, but can pass the gene defect on to their offspring. Statistically speaking, every person has at least one genetic defect. In related partners it is therefore possible that they both happened to have inherited a genetic defect from a common ancestor. If both genetic defects come together in one of your children, the child will fall ill. "

In this context, the undersigned MPs address the following to the Federal Minister of Health




1. Do you know the number of so-called related marriages concluded annually between the years 2000 and 2012?


2. If so, how many marriages are there? (With the request for a breakdown by year and ethnic group.)


3. If not, do you know whether such marriages should be recorded statistically in the future in order to better assess the consequences for the health system?


4. If not, will you advocate statistical collection in order to better assess the consequences for the health system?


5. How many minors were in medical treatment due to verifiable congenital defects in the years 2000 to 2012 and what treatment costs were incurred as a result? (With a request for a breakdown by year.)


6. How many of the minors concerned were conceived as part of a so-called relationship marriage?


7. What measures are being taken by the BMG to provide general information about relatives' marriages and the resulting dangers in the course of any reproductive process, but also among immigrants in particular?