Marriage is indisputably a life-changing and notable event for most people and even a milestone for some. It is a definite marker that two is better than one and that there is one person who will stand by us in the valley, the plateau and the mountaintop. While preparing for a wedding can be daunting, there is one important step that is often overlooked prior to tying the knot and building a happy family: premarital screening.
Many people still think that premarital screening is something trivial and therefore it is okay to turn a blind eye and just go on with the wedding. Some people are also not fully-educated on the matter, assuming that premarital screening only revolves around STD testing. This is not entirely false, but premarital screening has a wider scope than just determining whether or not a person is free from sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B & C and syphilis.
The goal of premarital screening
The goal of premarital screening is to perform thorough and careful health assessments on prospective bride and groom to prevent transmitting any disease to each other and most importantly to their offspring. Premarital screening is beneficial for soon-to-be-married couples because it helps identify genetic disorders, infectious diseases and blood transmitted diseases. One should keep an open and logical mind about premarital screening, because the objective is not to find flaws in a partner or is a sign of distrust, but to free yourself from unwanted problems in the future. If anything, premarital screening is one step that helps couples devise a proper family plan.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also seconds this, recommending screening tests in a population, especially for diseases with dire consequences because these tests bring advantage to people’s health. Besides, it enables you to take proper treatment and care if needed. It is best to conduct this screening three months before the wedding.
The aim of blood tests is to detect indications that might cause abnormal conditions. Blood tests include:
- Blood group testing (ABO-RH)
Not only does this test categorize your blood based on the major human blood group, the test also comprises the Rh test to determine the presence of the Rh antigen in a person’s blood. Rh-negative women need proper counseling regarding risky pregnancies
- Complete blood count (CBC)
A very common test to detect whether there are disorders that can damage your health. This is done by tracking increases and decreases in blood cell counts. A complete blood count test can diagnose a wide range of conditions from anemia to cancer
- Blood tests also detect diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and thyroid disorders that put women at risk for severe problems during pregnancy and after delivery
- Identification of inherited diseases such as thalassemia, which is a blood disorder where the body makes a lower amount of hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein). The chance of having thalassemia also depends on family history and ancestry
Sexually transmitted diseases
STD testing is undoubtedly a big part of premarital screening. Whether it is curable diseases such as chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis and gonorrhea to lifelong conditions such as herpes, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B & C, don’t leave them untreated. It is always better to be familiar with your partner’s condition early on than later, because these diseases, when not properly treated, can drive a wedge between couples.
Being fully-aware of your partner’s medical condition lets you seek the proper step or care to take to protect yourself, especially if your partner turns out to be positive and you decide to enter into a marriage. Infections and diseases that are left unmanaged and untreated can lead to unwanted circumstances such as infertility and miscarriages. Don’t be too intimidated by STD testing. If visiting a hospital is too daunting and taxing for you, you can consider going to a sexual health clinic in Singapore because the medical personnel are specialised in handling these infections and diseases.
Genetic and chronic diseases tests
These assessments are performed to detect common genetic or chronic conditions prevalent in a certain society.
- Genetic tests are basically performed through analysing samples of blood and body tissues. This is also a step that is taken to gauge the risk of offspring contracting a disease because they inherit a recessive allele if relationships by blood or common ancestry take place
- You can find fitting medical care and treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney conditions, hypertension and particular kinds of cancer to prevent it getting to a terminal stage if you do an early test
Women’s reproductive system examination
Examining a woman’s reproductive system can give a clear picture of the vaginal and cervical health. These assessments can help detect conditions such as myomas (benign tumors consisting of tissue and muscle that may form in the uterus) which can obstruct the chances of getting pregnant if left untreated.
One of the tests that is widely performed to examine the overall health of a woman’s reproductive system is pap smear which is mandatory for women who have had sexual intercourse for detection of cervical cancer.
The talks about fertility are the elephant in the room and often times are skipped because things may get too awkward. While financial planning is of the essence when starting a life with someone, having a proper family plan is an important discussion to have and cannot simply be brushed off. If you are planning to have kids in the future, fertility tests should be carried out. Fertility tests usually include talking about your medical history and performing a physical exam on both men and women.
- For women, examinations include a pelvic exam and sometimes ultrasound to observe ovaries and uterus. Blood tests are also used to track your hormones. Women may also be told to track their ovulation patterns by checking the cervical mucus. If conclusions cannot be made from these tests, doctors may examine your fallopian tubes to see if they are open and in some cases, minor surgeries have to be carried out to determine infertility
- As for men, fertility testing takes the form of semen analysis, where some metrics are used to determine whether or not you are fertile: sperm count, movement of sperm, the size and shape of the sperm and the amount of seminal fluid