Factors Contributing to at Risk Marriages among Individuals with Hemoglobinopathy Disorders Attending Premarital Screening Centers in Al-Ahsa Governorate, Saudi Arabia- 2021-2022
Aim: Results from the Premarital Screening Program suggest that approximately 48% of couples with Hemoglobinopathy disorders decided to proceed with their marriage. This study determines the frequency of at-risk marriage among couples with Hemoglobinopathy disorders in Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia and determines factors that influence their decision to proceed with at-risk marriage. Materials and Methods: Of the 182 couples identified, 116 (63.7%) married and 66 (36.3%) did not marry. An unmatched case-control study was conducted on 81 subjects who married (cases) and 44 subjects who did not marry (controls) to assess the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics, knowledge, and cultural factors in regard to the decision to marry. Results: In the case-control study, a low education level was associated with a decreased risk to proceed with at-risk marriage (OR=0.16, p-value=0.03). “It is my fate and I have to accept it” was among the most reported factors that influenced individuals to proceed with at-risk marriage (15%). Fifty percent of those who did not proceed with at-risk marriage were convinced by the importance of having healthy children. Roughly 75% of the married group and 61% of the unmarried group were not aware of the aim of the Premarital Screening Program. Recommendations: raise the awareness of premarital screening program and to implement the screening at earlier stage. Counselor has to address different social, cultural and religious factors that may contribute to proceed with at-risk marriage. Conclusion: The study’s findings indicate that strong social, cultural, and religious factors lead to the reduced effectiveness of premarital counseling in the Al Ahsa region of the KSA.