What is premarital health screening?
Premarital health screening is a series of screening tests for couples who are planning to get married soon. The premarital health checkup tests for common genetic blood disorders and infectious diseases. The premarital screening aims to provide medical advice on the possibilities of transmitting the diseases to the other partner/spouse or offspring and choices to help partners/spouses plan for a healthy family.
What are the tests done, and how are the tests useful?
- Routine investigations
Complete Blood Count (CBC), urine test, and analysis are performed. Peripheral Blood Smears to check for normal and abnormal cells, especially to rule out thalassemia. Blood group testing is important to screen out the Rh-negative women and counsel them about the risks in pregnancy. Having an Rh-negative blood type is not a medical condition. It usually has no detrimental impact on your health. It may, however, affect your pregnancy. If you are Rh-negative and your baby is Rh-positive, you will need special care during your pregnancy.
- Infectious diseases
Premarital health screening includes tests for various infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and Syphilis. These diseases are sexually transmitted diseases; thus, it is essential for couples to be screened for any of the infections. Hepatitis B, C, and HIV infections are transmissible by parenteral route, blood transfusion, as well as sexual intercourse. These infections may have several implications.
- Genetic tests
Doctors frequently opt for genetic screening based on culture. Testing for thalassemia and other disorders is tailored to family history and ancestry. Different tests are used to test for different conditions such as hemophilia and thalassemia. Consanguineous marriages are particularly relevant in cases where the likelihood of offspring acquiring a recessive allele for a disease is raised. Genetic testing is performed by evaluating tiny samples of blood or body tissues collected from the couples.
- Gynecological examinations
Gynecological procedures aim to evaluate the overall health of a woman’s reproductive system. A speculum is typically used during the general examination to better view the vagina and cervix. This examination aids in the detection of gynecological conditions such as chocolate cysts and uterine myomas (also known as uterine fibroids), which are an accumulation of numerous benign, nodular growths or tumours. These growths are made up of muscle and connective tissue that can develop in or on the uterus or in the cervix. These abnormalities significantly limit the likelihood of becoming pregnant, and adequate treatment is urgently required. In addition to routine exams, more specialist treatments such as the Pap smear to detect cervical cancer are available. The use of a Pap smear test is highly advised for all women who have had sexual contact. Women above 21 who have not engaged in sexual activity are also advised to undergo a Pap smear test.
Premarital checkups are a vital screening procedure for all couples to make a proper family plan. The following are some of the benefits of premarital screening:
- To assess the couple’s readiness to have children
- To identify potential difficulties or health-related conditions that could harm the pregnancy and fetus,
- To devise a treatment plan to increase fertility.
In certain countries, premarital testing is a legal obligation. If you plan to marry, you should familiarise yourself with the laws of the country in which you intend to marry to understand the obligations. Even if a premarital test isn’t required by law, it’s a good idea to think about it. When couples register for their wedding in Malaysia, they are frequently obliged to undergo a premarital health examination. This care is being taken for the couple’s benefit as they map out their family planning strategy together in advance. Getting tested can provide you and your partner peace of mind and trust in one other, which is always a good way to start your happy married life together.