I actually feel this is the first article I should have written on this platform. It is an issue that needs to be continually addressed. I have heard people say that all that matters is love, love conquers all, as long as they are happy nothing else matters. These are the “wrongest” of notions. Love tries but does not conquer all. I was speaking with a sister and a friend a few days ago and it struck me that the elites are still ignorant of these pre-wedding tests. I believe this article will help us a great deal. I actually feel the religious houses and the courts should make them a pre-requisite before joining any couple together. Don’t be blinded by love.
For most people, the joy of finding true love and deciding to go into matrimony with a spouse usually knows no bound. However, most people enter into this lifelong union without adequate knowledge of their partner’s health status and so become disappointed and frustrated with marriage because of medical conditions that could have been identified and tackled before this lifelong commitment. The knowledge of your intending partner’s health status by no means implies that marriage is not possible but it gives you an avenue to make informed consent and it enables you and your spouse seek proper medical care early to prevent unnecessary stress and burden during marriage.
This is probably one of the most important in the test groups. This is the test that lets you know whether you are AA, AS, SS, AC or SC. I actually feel this test should be done from the very beginning of the relationship. I am AA but because of the importance I give to this test, I always ask the question of the genotype from the first or second date. Most people find it weird but I have experienced a lot to know it is quite important. There was a particular Sunday in Church we were discussing this issue and people cited a lot of reasons why it does not matter. I want to address this issue as I did in church. Before I do this I will like to explain the test.
The Genotype test helps in determining whether one has the sickle cell gene. Sickle cell disease is a chronic and debilitating medical condition caused by defect in red blood cells. As the name implies, these cells are shaped as a ‘sickle’ and this affect their ability to pass through tiny blood vessels to supply oxygen to cells and tissue. This account for most crises experienced by sickle cell patients. It is advisable for sickle cell patients (SS) not to marry a carrier of the sickle cell gene (AS) because of the 50% chance of having a baby with the disease in each pregnancy. However, a sickle cell patient (SS) can marry an individual with no trait of the disease (AA) as their offspring will only be carriers of the sickle cell genes. AS and AS individuals should also not get married because of the 25% chance of having a baby with it.
So back to what I was saying. I told them it is the height of selfishness for two people with the gene to get married. But in the case that they both have agreed not to have a child or they have agreed to adoption then they are fine.
RHESUS FACTOR TEST
This is also a basic test that should be done. It is basically for information purposes and it does not determine whether two people can marry. The Rhesus factor test used to be a determinant though but with the advancement of science, there is nothing to worry about. Knowledge of your spouse blood group is important before marriage because of rhesus isoimmunisation/ blood group incompatibility that affects the fetus. This test is easy to perform and result is usually ready within 30 minutes.
Blood group is assigned to an individual as A, B, O and AB with another component known as the Rhesus factor which is referred to as positive or negative. Women with rhesus negative blood group married to rhesus positive husbands have a greater chance of rhesus incompatibility where the mother produces antibodies (body defence system) to target the red blood cells of the growing fetus (rhesus positive fetus) leading to intrauterine death and miscarriages. Knowledge of your spouse’s blood group will alert your doctor to institute preventive measures which are used to prevent rhesus incompatibility reactions during pregnancy.
This is one test I believe most couples do and it is basically because of the fear of dying. It is a very important test. With the current prevalence of HIV, it is important that spouses should request for their partners to be screened for this diseases= before marriage. HIV is a lifelong condition that if not properly managed can put serious strain on the marriage. The knowledge of your partner’s status helps you protect yourself/seek for adequate medical care if your partner turns out to be positive and you also decide to go ahead with the marriage. Lifelong care and support is needed for partners who are infected. I know various bodies that perform wedding rites demand for it nowadays. It is not for stigmatization purposes but to help your partner to adequately manage it and prevent transmission to you. There are various test centers around you, just go for counselling and then get tested.
THE HEPATITIS TEST AND OTHER STDS.
This is also a very important test. Hepatitis is probably the STD with the smallest sensitization. I was still speaking with a friend last week and he told me he never knew there is an STD called Hepatitis. I had a first-hand experience with a victim years ago and that was my first insight. It is a deadly STD and it is more contagious than HIV. It can also be transmitted just like the HIV. This is also a test that should be done before any sexual relationship begins between couples. A general screening for STDs should be done. Other STDs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, warts, etc. should be screened for because they can lead to fertility problems and miscarriage. There is no shame in doing all these tests.
THE FERTILITY TEST
This is also a very serious one especially in the generation of nowadays. Infertility is rampaging the society and we live in a world that an ultimate importance has been placed on having children of your own. This may sound out of place or weird, but truth be told, fertility test is another test that all intending coupes should do before saying ‘I DO’. This is important because fertility issues can be addressed as early as possible without the unnecessary biological, psychological, social and emotional trauma associated with barrenness. Fertility test typically includes: seminal analysis for the men to assess for male fertility; hormonal assay for both couples e.g. FSH, LH, Prolactin, Testosterone, estrogen and progesterone; test for ovulation for the women, pelvic ultrasound scan may also be needed to assess the internal reproductive organs for any congenital or acquired abnormalities.
Men need more sensitization on this subject. Time has changed from the past. There has been a shift in our diet and I think it has taken a toll on our fertility levels. It is important we know our reproductive status so that we can plan adequately. Science has advanced and now there is increased success in the area of assisted conception. It shouldn’t be a big deal again.
FULL MEDICAL BODY TEST
Marriage is a lifelong commitment with both partners looking after each another. Knowledge of possible genetic or chronic conditions of your partner wouldn’t be harmful but it will go a long way in assisting both couples on how to best prepare for the challenges ahead. Early testing allows couples seek medical care before the medical conditions get to its terminal stage. This test depends on the region and the common chronic/genetic condition seen in that populace. However, this test should include screening for diabetes, test for hypertension, certain cancers, kidney disease and various brain conditions.
It is important we carry out the various examinations. With this you both will understand what you are going into and would have agreed to take the walk together. Only then can you enjoy a lasting peace. Get Tested!!