Background: Consanguinity has been a long-standing social habit among Egyptians. Estimates of consanguinity ratios in different parts of Egypt ranged from 29 to 50%. This study aimed at delineating the role of consanguinity and advanced maternal age on reproductive losses in Alexandria, Egypt. Methods: A case-control study, on 730 couples with history of reproductive losses and 2081 normal couples, was done during the period October, 1998 until August, 2000. Results: Of the 730 couples with reproductive losses, consanguinity frequency was 68.8% with 56.2% first cousins. Prenatal loss and infant deaths were highly encountered among consanguineous marriages (p < 0.0001). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, consanguinity between couples increased the relative risk of repeated abortion (OR: 3.95; 95% CI: 3.04–5.14), stillbirths (OR: 10.6; 95% CI: 6.7–17.0), neonatal death (OR: 17.2; 95% CI: 10.8–27.3), post-neonatal death (OR: 14.5; 95% CI: 10.6–19.9) and total reproductive losses (OR: 8.3; 95% CI: 6.9–10.1). A positive association was found between advanced maternal age and repeated abortion (OR: 3.19; 95% CI: 2.04–4.97) as well as total reproductive losses (OR: 2.37; 95% CI: 1.74–3.2). Conclusion: This study, the largest-reported case-control study on reproductive losses in Alexandria, strongly suggests that consanguinity may play a major role in the high rates of prenatal and infant mortality while advanced maternal age has a significant role in the causation of repeated abortion, and they must be taken into account for genetic counseling in Egypt. Because of the possibility of controlling, the study gives clear indications for prevention.
Consanguinity Reproductive losses Maternal age Egypt