Some extraordinary figures in this report:
Riyadh: A scheme to curb marriages within relatives in Saudi Arabia is
being intensified with a compulsory pre-marriage medical tests now
broached to cut the high rate of genetic diseases among the population.
Dr Ayman Al Sulaiman, a genetic researcher and consultant at King
Faisal Hospital in the capital Riyadh, told Saudi TV that a 2004 survey
showed endogamy (marriage between close kin of the first or second
degree or even in the same family) in Saudi Arabia was around 53 per
cent. Now, that figure has climbed to 67 per cent....
In 2014, the head of the Embryology Unit in Al-Ahsa Maternity and
Children Hospital, Dr. Nihad Al-Kashi, blamed endogamy for up to 70
percent of fetal abnormalities in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahsa region,
according to an Arab News report.
Dr Al Sulaiman said Saudi population faces genetic diseases no other
country has and has one of the highest genetic disease rates in the
world, estimated at one per 1,000. This compares with one per 4,000 in
the United States and one per 8,000 in Japan.
"This means the ratio of genetic diseases in Saudi Arabia is almost eight times that of Japan,” he told Saudi TV.