UNAIR NEWS – Pre-marital screening has not been common in Indonesia. This screening is considered trivial by Indonesian couples as they will get married. But the facts showed that this screening could avoid the couple from the risks of long-term diseases, even for their offspring. So, how important is this pre-marital screening?
An obstetrician and gynecologist of Universitas Airlangga Hospital (RS Unair), Muhammad Ardian C. L., dr., Sp.OG, M.Kes., shared some information on the importance of going through the pre-marital screening before getting married.
Ardian stated that pre-marital screening consists of past medical history check, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Past medical history check previews the risks of disease of the person. Then from the physical examination, any visible symptoms of diseases or abnormalities can be detected. With laboratory tests, previous unknown diseases can be detected. All this is for understanding the risks of diseases and preventing any further risks immediately and in the best way possible to treat them.
According to Ardian, pre-marital screening is important to do in order to know the risks of the couple take, and also for their children in the future. A lot of things can be anticipated by conducting the screening such as the risks of disease transmission, infertility, mother and child death during childbirth and baby defects.
This screening can anticipate transmission of infectious disease such as TBC, HIV, toxoplasma and hepatitis. If one of the couple was diagnosed with an infectious disease, such as HIV, then there are two options for them, they have to use condoms during intercourse and when they decided to have offspring, the mother would have to take anti-HIV medication.
Toxoplasma infection disease could cause miscarriage and baby defects. This can be avoided by taking medication before pregnancy happens. “The pregnancy should be controlled first, when the infection is healed, the patient then is okay to be pregnant. It is done to reduce the risks of baby defects,” Adrian elaborated.
It is quite difficult to anticipate the transmission of hepatitis B from the couple. But with the screening, the transmission of the disease from mother to the baby can be avoided. After birth, the baby will be vaccinated to prevent the disease transmitted from the mother.
The risks of hormonal disease can also be anticipated through the screening. Hormonal disease such as diabetes mellitus, give risks of miscarriage and baby defects. With the screening, the mother can anticipate them by living a healthy life to control her blood sugar.
Congenital disease such as heart disease is not infectious but there is a risk of death during pregnancy if the disease is the advanced one. “If the pregnancy endangers the mother, it’s better to abort. Because during pregnancy, the heart works harder,” the owner of Graha Amani Maternity Clinic in Sidoarjo elaborated.
Rhesus factor should also be considered by the couple before marriage. A woman from a couple with different rhesus factor has probability to carry fetus with different rhesus factor. When it happens, the mother’s body will see the fetus as foreign object and increase the risks of miscarriage, born baby with anemia, swollen liver, jaundice and heart failure. But, according to Ardian, the risk of having different rhesus is small for marriages of couples within the same Asian race, for example marriages with the same Indonesian, mostly Indonesian has positive rhesus factor.
Another risk which can be anticipated is infertility issue. Through the screening, a couple can see their reproductive systems’ condition. Women with obesity have high infertility risk and they have to lose weight in order to get pregnant. And if there are reproductive system disorders, they should be treated first.
Men reproductive system can also be checked through the screening. If any system disorders are found, then risk heightening factors should be avoided such as smoking, radiation exposure and excessive heat as they can destroy the sperm cells. If there are abnormalities in the reproductive organs, operation and medication should be performed. “It can minimize infertility risks which make couples anxious from expecting an offspring,” said the doctor who often helps couples with fertility problems. (ind)