A population-based estimate of the prevalence of consanguineous marriage in Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Biomedical and Sports Science
Objective: To determine the current prevalence of consanguineous marriage in Western Australia, as a means of assessing the associated requirement for genetic counselling services. Subjects and Methods: The records of all intended marriages in Western Australia were examined over a 6-year period (1994–1999), with the numbers and types of consanguineous unions collated and analysed by year, current domicile and countries of origin. Results and Conclusions: Of the 62,549 proposed marriages, 144 (0.23%) were between couples who identified themselves as biological relatives, 82 (0.13%) of whom were first cousins. The mean coefficient of inbreeding α for the total sample was 0.00009. In 75.7% of cases either one or both of the partners had been born outside Australia. Given the patterns of recent migration to Australia, it is suggested that these figures should be treated as minimal estimates of the actual levels of consanguinity in the population.