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Genetic Counselling for Muslim Families of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Origin in Britain

  1. Alison Shaw

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005938.pub2

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Shaw, A. 2009. Genetic Counselling for Muslim Families of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Origin in Britain. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

Abstract

An elevated risk of recessive conditions associated with the practice of consanguineous marriage may be relevant for some couples of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim origin, but counsellors need to avoid stigmatizing couples who are consanguineous and should focus instead on establishing risk and strategies for risk management. Patients' prior understandings of illness causality, inheritance and risk; their religious beliefs; their language use and aspects of their family structure may also influence their access to and use of genetic information in important ways. However, these factors are not static markers of ‘ethnic’ or ‘cultural’ difference but are subject to continual negotiation within and between families and their significance varies from case to case. Genetic counsellors need to be aware of the range of ideas that patients may bring to a genetics consultation, without presuming that any particular set of ideas will apply in any given case.

Key concepts

  • An effective counselling service for British Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim families should avoid giving undue negative emphasis to cousin marriages.

  • Genetic counsellors should be sensitive to the range of understandings of illness causality and inheritance that patients may bring to a genetics consultation.

  • A patient's gender, status and position in their family can influence their access to and interpretation of genetic risk information.

  • Genetic counsellors should avoid stereotyping Muslim patients and be sensitive to the range of personal and religious considerations involved in the use of medical technologies in pregnancy.

  • Access to services would be improved by employing appropriately trained bilingual genetic professionals and interpreters.

Keywords:

  • Bangladeshis;
  • first-cousin marriages;
  • genetic counselling;
  • inheritance, cross-cultural communication;
  • Pakistanis