Intrafamilial marriage is favoured by the Arab community in Israel, almost all of whom live in villages populated by a few (< 20) founding families. A previous study in Taibe, a large Arab village located 30 km from Tel Aviv, showed a significantly high malformation rate among infants of consanguineous parents. The present study examines the reproductive consequences of parental consanguinity in 610 families from the same village, selected retrospectively through infants routinely seen in the local well baby clinic. All mothers were interviewed with regard to previous pregnancy outcomes, including abortions, stillbirths, and neonatal or infant deaths, as well as the degree of consanguinity. In addition, we analysed the anthropometric measurements of the probands. The incidence of infant deaths was significantly higher in the inbred group (p < 0.001). No significant increase in fetal loss between the inbred and outbred groups was observed. There were no differences in anthropometric features, except for a lower birth weight in the consanguineous group (p < 0.035). This study, combined with our previous studies of the same population, indicates a prominent public health problem associated with consanguineous marriage in the Arab community and a need for specific genetic counselling.
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