As of July this year, Kuwaiti couples that want to get married must undergo a pre-marital medical check-up.
I read an article on Arabbusiness.com about the new law that has been designed by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health which aims at ensuring healthy and safe marriages with a view to curbing genetic and contagious diseases, according to ministry spokesman Hilal al-Sayer.
The Ministry of Health plans to open additional offices in all governates. Diseases the authorities will be looking to screen during the check-ups include anaemia, hepatitis, AIDS and syphilis.
Ring? Dress? Dowry? Clean Bill of Health?
The health checks aren’t optional: on July 23rd 2009, the Kuwaiti government warned that couples failing to have medical checks before getting married could face prison sentences.
In August The Ministry of Health opened a new centre for pre-marriage medical check-ups and received 45 couples on its first day of opening.
Kuwaiti divorcees who wish to remarry must take another pre-marital test if they’ve gone six months since their last check up.
Weighing Up the Pros and Cons Before the Wedding
Pre-marriage health checks… it’s an interesting piece of legislation if you ask me: I can see the pro’s here if I’m perfectly frank: after all the courtship that precedes an arranged marriage is often chaperoned and may not reveal a great deal about a potential partner. Getting this kind of check could be seen as a sort of “cards on the table” commitment.
Also, given that most of us who get married want to have children, it’s a good way of checking up what might “run in the family” in terms of health conditions and ailments. Several Gulf country governments have warned recently that the tradition of marriage to a first cousin can cause problems, so perhaps this is a way of finding out what’s at stake genetically.
I gotta say I think that if it were optional that would be one thing, but to be legally obliged to have a health check seems a little stringent to my (romantic) mind. I mean, STDs aside, if a partner has anaemia or is likely to be a diabetic later in life etc does this make a fiancé(e) think twice about marriage? Or does it merely ensure that precautions are taken and ill/potentially ill party and partner are better informed to get whatever curative/preventative treatment necessary? I guess it varies from case to case, but the info would have to be handled sensitively.
Then there’s the “X” factor – the things we can’t predict and maybe aren’t meant to. People can get ill all of a sudden and I truly believe that when it comes to marriage, it’s about supporting each other through every high and low, every triumph and defeat – when we’re healthy and happy and when we need it most, which is invariably when we’re not.
LoveHabibi would like to hear your thoughts regarding pre-marital health check-ups. Are they really for our interest?