MARRIAGES ARE, IT IS SAID, ARE MADE IN HEAVEN. IN INDIA MOST ARRANGED marriages take place only after the horoscopes of the boy and the girl ‘match’.
Rarely, or almost never, are their medical reports matched.
Many do not know that if the two have different Rh factors, i.e. one is Rh positive and the other Rh negative, there can be complications in pregnancy as the Rh antibodies from an Rh-sensitized woman cross the placenta and attack the blood of an Rh-positive fetus. The Rh antibodies destroy some of the fetal red blood cells.
This causes hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. In some such cases there are still births or infant mortality unless doctors know and take preventive action.
It was, therefore, an eye-opener when a reader in his ‘like’ message on LinkedIn for my blog sent me a link to a You Tube video ‘Dhoka‘ (Betrayal). In the video, a widow with a girl child objects to the fixing of a marriage without comparing medical certificates as her own husband died in his thirties as she had congenital heart problem, which was not disclosed when the match was fixed.
Superstitions abound in a tradition-bound country like India. Many, especially in rural areas, believe that some health and psychological problems would automatically get resolved by marriage. Mostly due to ignorance about problems like mental retardation are attributed to fate and it is believed that the good fortune of the other party would set them right.
There are many cases where genetic factors play an important role. Three members of a family where both the mother and the father were highly diabetic, died of kidney failure and one more is undergoing dialysis. A cousin on the father’s side (with the same family name) also died of renal failure after decades of diabetes. In all four cases the family medical history was not known.
The practice of basing marriages on the ‘gotra’ (ancestry or the name of the foregather whose progeny the family was supposed to be) of the two families and the prohibition on marriages within the same ‘gotra’ are, perhaps, based on principles as the genetic traits of the gotras were known. This soon deteriorated into a ritual and such knowledge also does not exist any more.
The message of the video clip is: Just as you enquire about the social and financial status of the family and educational qualifications and employment of the boy or the girl, you must also have the medical records of both of them examined for compatibility.
A new medical speciality may develop if this becomes a common practice. Five-star corporate hospitals may open special departments for this. And make morfe money
Marriages may be made in heaven, but they must also be cleared by doctors.