HOW MEDICALLY COMPATIBLE ARE YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
Love is magical. Why I decide to use the word magical is not farfetched because it’s something we all can relate too; if nothing at all, you’ve seen romance movies at one point or the other. Abi I dey lie?
For most couples, as you must have noticed, there’s always this swirl of excitement (and sometimes anxiousness) from the point of ‘Yes, I’d marry you!’ at the proposal scene to ‘I Do’ on the D-day. All they think and talk about within those moments is the wedding, losing site of cogent issues like medical compatibility. I guess it’s safe to believe they are compatible in other facets for them to be thinking about getting married.
In this context, medical compatibility means that the partners as individual organisms have body components that can mix up with no resulting problems. Yes, don’t be surprised, we are all humans but with different genetic makeups.
Do you know why partners need to be Medically Compatible?
It has been proven that not every genetic recombination yields normal offspring occurrence. Sad but true. Asides genes, other factors can affect overall compatibility. We would see them as we go on. But for now, let’s mention some reasons why medical compatibility is important.
- It reduces the chance of birthing children who would have to suffer for the rest of their lives.
- Unnecessary financial burdens e.g purchase of expensive medications for management on the family is avoided.
- Promotes healthy and long term marriages.
- On a larger scale, it controls the pressure on health institutions.
As you can tell, all of these reasons are good stuff. Talk more about the several others not listed here.
SO, WHAT DETERMINES THE MEDICAL COMPATIBILITY OF A COUPLE?
Some factors actually but I’d divide them into two broad categories.
- Controllable factors: the health conditions in this group don’t overrule or better still compulsorily dissolve a relationship. A good example is STDs. A couple can decide to go on and get married. This just means they have to put in the extra effort to manage the disease as best advised by the expert.
- Uncontrollable factors: in this group, we have the deal-breakers. They are usually non-negotiable so it could be really disappointing. For instance, if the lady has a negative Rhesus factor and the man has a positive Rhesus factor, they can’t have a child. Ultimately, they can’t go on with the wedding unless of course, they decide to live without kids or adopt.
This obviously tells us that there are corners that can always be cut depending on the situation. It’s just that there is no way you would be able to prepare ahead or consider your safe alternatives if you don’t know the issues in the first place.
HOW CAN YOU CHECK YOUR MEDICAL COMPATIBILITY?
Take all the tests. It’s as simple as that. I had to stress the ‘all’ because the tendency is there to skip some. Especially when you consider some as ‘unimportant’ because you are thinking of where to cut the costs. But trust me, they all are.
The tests are:
1. FERTILITY TEST
For most couples, this comes up as a discussion only after they realise conceiving has been difficult for them. Even at that, some men refuse to take the test claiming it makes them less of a man. This is not right! Why not have the test done early on? This way, you are aware of what lies ahead and can make adequate preparation. Most infertility problems can be dealt with.
There is a seminal analysis for men and pelvic ultrasound for women.
2. BLOOD GROUP AND RHESUS FACTOR TEST
This Rhesus factor compatibility is the main reason why this test is important for partners. An individual either has the Rhesus factor (Rh+) or doesn’t (Rh-). The precarious situation is when the lady is Rh- and the man is Rh+ because there is a 50% chance their child could be Rh+.
Rh- and Rh+ can’t share the same blood flow and every fetus depends on blood from the mother for sustenance in the uterus even though the blood does not readily mix in the uterus. Therefore, such a baby would suffer from the haemolytic disease, causing stillbirth.
If this test is done before the wedding, with the help of their doctor, the couple can take the necessary precautions during pregnancy. Hence, avoid unfortunate circumstances. Knowing the blood group of your spouse also goes a long way in emergencies where you might need to do a blood transfusion.
Note that, these two are grouped together because they are determined using a blood sample from the human body. So, you can decide to request a test for Rh factor at your next screening.
3. HIV AND OTHER STDs
Often times, there is this unnecessary stigma attached to having a Sexually Transmitted Disease (or Infection). We’ve transferred this same perception to getting tested for these things.
I think it’s better we start off on the note that STDs are not always caused by promiscuity. There could be other reasons like blood transfusion (HIV). There are the curable ones- gonorrhea, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, chlamydia and the incurable- HIV, herpes.
It’s good to know wherever you stand to be able to make better decisions. The annoying thing about some of these STDs is that the longer they are left untreated, the more prone the infected individual is to infertility. Get tested to avoid further complications.
Generally, we have AA, AS, AC, and SS genotypes. Many people are aware of the genotype test now. It is progress. The issue, however, is that most of us don’t know the full genotype gist. The abnormal genotypes are ‘SS’ and ‘SC’. Those with ‘SC’ would have a parent with ‘AC’ because a couple contributes a genotype each to their child’s genotype.
The SC genotype is rare but existent. Someone who has ‘C’ dominant like ‘CC’ would experience some health issues but not as severe as the ‘SS’. A sickle cell child goes through a lot of unhealthy turmoil so it’s better to avoid this at all cost. The only way, at least for now, is to prevent mating between two sickle cell carriers. That is why knowing your genotype is important.
Two partners with AC is not so good. Although a CC child can still be managed well, the truth is, it’s better to also avoid.
5. HEREDITARY MEDICAL CONDITIONS
This majorly has nothing to do with our sexual health so it might seem unimportant. However, testing for these medical conditions helps you make strategic plans as a family if need be. You might have to work towards adjusting your lifestyle, meals, or starting regular health checks and so on. It’s all for your good plus there are no disadvantages so why the hesitancy?
ON A FINAL NOTE
I understand that taking the tests might not be very affordable but always remember that your health is a priority. Health is Wealth, remember?
A phenomenal lady whose skills and style do the talking. Her unending desire for better healthcare from persons, through to the public has always been her drive. Over the years, she has volunteered with different NGOs that try to promote a healthy lifestyle.
She hopes to one day create an avenue for people to get the guidance needed for nutrition essential for life, amongst other things. She believes knowledge paves ways. And so, makes it a responsibility to keep learning and impacting others.
Deborah Solomon is a believer and currently a medical student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. She enjoys writing, traveling, music, and cooking.