Changes in Attitudes towards Marriage and Reproduction among People with a Genetic Illness

A Study of Patients with Thalassemia in Iran

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 Tokyo University of Foreign Studies sachikohpowell@yahoo.co.jp
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Abstract

In this article, the change in attitude towards marriage and reproduction among Iranian people with a genetic illness called thalassemia has been investigated, along with an analysis of the impact brought by the national thalassemia prevention programmes, which were introduced to discourage marriage between carriers (thalassemia minor) and the birth of severe homozygous cases (thalassemia major). Marriage and reproductive choices of people with both thalassemia minor and thalassemia major were focused upon in order to prevent the birth of affected babies. Thalassemia carrier couples prefer to choose abortion of affected foetuses, rather than giving up their marriage, and some people with thalassemia major choose a person with thalassemia major as a marriage partner, though they must give up having their own child.

Contributor Notes

Sachiko Hosoya is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Her current study is on health and disability policies in Iran. A part of her PhD dissertation, which was an ethnography of Kahrizak Charity Care Centre in Tehran, was published in English as ‘Care, Redemption and the Afterlife: Spiritual Experiences of Bathing Volunteers in a Charity Care Center in Iran’, in Gulf Charities and Islamic Philanthropy in the ‘Age of Terror’ and Beyond, edited by Robert Lacey and Jonathan Benthall (Gerlach Press, 2014). E-mail: sachikohpowell@yahoo.co.jp

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