Matching the kundalis (Horoscope) before the marriage is not new in India. However, one more pre-marital practice which is relatively new for Indians is pre-marital health screening.
Getting married is certainly a big decision. Along with all the excitement of the big day and starting a new chapter in your life, it also brings a lot of shared responsibility. One such responsibility is keeping a check on your medical condition so as not to put your partner's health at risk.
Gynecologist Dr Amodita Ahuja says, "Pre-marital health screening for couples is one of the ways to educate them about the physical changes that can occur after marriage, STIs, evaluating family medical history, ways of contraception, ways to prevent chronic infections and a lot more."
To understand what the millenials of India think of this practice, I talked to some people.
Sagrika Uppal (27), assistant professor, said, "Such type of health screening is a personal choice of every individual and marriage is a lot
more than these things. So, according to me, health checkups before marriage should not be compulsory. If someone is concerned, they can go for particular testing but we cannot pressurise someone."
Saurav Mishra (24) a student opines, "For me, marriage is not only about having a child but being together is what I considered more important. It would be better for me if we are taking care of our health consciously. To detect any infection, I can go head with health screening prior to my marriage but I would never like to force my partner for such testing."
Suzanna Singh(21) a medical student says, "It is alright to have flaws but getting pre-marriage health screening can be helpful to avoid further complications and will ensure safety for partners."
Anulita Sharma(48) a homemaker says "According to today's generation it is important to have such sort of health screening before marriages to get a clear picture about each other. There should be equality, if a girl is getting tested then a boy should also go for it."
Gunmala Chaturvedi(50) a fine artist opines "If my child wishes to get health screening before marriage I would not stop her, but if results showed any problem I am scared it may impact her life."
Bhavna Solanki (28), assistant professor, expressed, "If it is about health, then a person who is sexually active or suffers from STDs is aware of it. It’s an individual's duty to take full responsibility and make sure that he or she is not spreading the infection." Further, she added, "Fertility tests are always a person's choice and we can not force anyone."
Why do health professionals suggest pre-marital health checkups?
It takes time to understand and identify your partner's habits, choices, and nature. Marriage is a lifelong commitment with a lot of emotional inputs. Dr. Ahuja says, "There is a well-known saying that if the foundation is strong then the building becomes stronger. In the same way, if a couple knows every bit about each other and the road in front is clear and they know what to expect from each other, the journey becomes beautiful and they grow much stronger together."
Below are the benefits of pre-marital health screening:
Recommended tests that couples can take-
Sexually transmitted diseases: STD's like HIV, Hepatitis B and C are lifelong diseases that can affect one's life adversely if not taken care of. Knowing about sexually transmitted diseases would help to reduce the effect of spreading infection. Experts recommend testing for diseases like syphilis, gonorrhoea and herpes.
Blood group compatibility test: It may sound unnecessary but it is important for your offspring. A blood group compatibility test would help you to know about the Rh factor. The Rh factor of couples should be the same for a successful pregnancy or else it can bring complications to your child in such a manner that antibodies present in the pregnant woman's body can destroy the blood cells of the foetus.
Inherited diseases: Bloodborne diseases like thalassemia, haemophilia Marfan syndrome, Huntington's disease and sickle cell have high chances of transmitting to your offspring, therefore, it is important to screen them before marriage and planning pregnancy.
Fertility Test: It should be done without any emotional, physical, or mental traumas. Detecting fertility issues provides you with a chance to find a cure on time.
Genetic test: The genetic test will simply help you to determine if any health risk or illness is arriving your way in the future. Not only this but it also gives you an insight into the nutritional preference of your partner.
The result of these tests may or may not affect your decision of getting married but ignorance is not bliss. The best way to stay healthy and happy is to detect an issue and take required treatments and precautions.