JEDDAH – The feelings of happiness and excitement that overwhelm young couples about to get married tend to transform to fear and anxiety as they remember they need to undergo premarital tests. This situation continues until the results appear. These results might bear unpleasant news for some, while others go ahead with marriage procedures amid the happiness and excitement of friends and relatives.
Pre-marriage tests focus on hereditary blood diseases (sickle cell anemia and thalassemia) and some contagious diseases like hepatitis B and C and AIDS due to fear the other party might contract the disease or the children might be afflicted in future. Choices and alternatives are placed before the prospective couple to help them plan for a sound and healthy family and disseminate awareness according to the concept of a comprehensively healthy family.
Among the diseases that cause concern for engaged couples is sickle cell anemia, which is considered a common factor for all these tests and diseases, as it is the most common disease in some regions of the Kingdom and in many other Gulf countries. Doctors warn against this disease due to its seriousness, as it causes the blockage of capillaries, hence leading to a short life span for red blood corpuscles, in turn leading to chronic anemia. It also leads to attacks of pain in the limbs and constant erosion of the bones, especially the bones of the pelvis and knees. It also leads to blockage of the capillaries feeding the brain and lungs and failure of the organs, spasms and enlarged spleen and inflammations on the legs, among other symptoms.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette visited the pre-marriage test center and talked to a number of male and female visitors, in addition to lab technicians and doctors supervising the program.
Anxiety and tension
Abdullah Muhammad was undergoing the seventh test after the failure of six attempts and the nonconformity of the test results with that of the young woman he got engaged to. Anxiety and tension could be noticed on his face and in his actions. He was afraid of the consequences of his test results.
He said, “Whenever I come to undergo tests, I am concerned, and I fear the test results will not match those of my fiancée’s. I cannot sleep because of my constant worries.”
He said if the test results do not match this time, he will depend on Allah and listen to the advice of the consultancy clinic, which told him several times not to separate from his fiancée but to undergo treatment and take the medication required for his case so that his children will not be affected.
Meanwhile, Khaled Imad said the stories on pre-marriage tests have dashed the dreams of many people wanting to get married. A large number of them have fears about undergoing the premarital tests. He said he asked a young woman’s hand in marriage two years ago. When they conducted the tests the results did not match. He was forced to repeat the tests several times and is still doing them.
Maha Abdulkhaliq said the center discovered her test results and those of her fiancé did not match. They accepted the matter calmly and are now undergoing special treatment for hereditary diseases. They delayed their marriage for a year to undergo treatment.
Baraa Omar insisted on going ahead with his marriage after his third fiancée’s approval. He said the consultancy clinic’s doctor told them that their test results did not match. They are not convinced with the doctor’s opinion. They have set a date for their marriage.
Young actress Rumooz stressed that pre-marriage tests ought to be carried out so that children resulting from the marriage are healthy. She said that a healthy marriage would make life happy and free from problems. She further said that a healthy marriage is a positive step the Ministry of Health is striving to enforce in order to prevent the spread of hereditary and contagious diseases.
“I was not under pressure when I came to undergo the tests. I wanted to confirm that I was free from any hereditary diseases. I was very happy with the way the staff dealt with young men and women,” she said.
Director of the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Jeddah Dr. Kamal Abu Rukbah said the pre-marriage test center in Jeddah is experiencing tremendous pressure. He said the number of cases sometimes exceed 100.