For most people, the joy of finding love and entering marriage is all it has to be. For them, to marry is merely to be of age and to be in love. To take medical tests to know each other’s medical health condition is “an interference and a waste of time” just to delay the marriage process.
Yes, it is great to find love and marry but love and marriage with hidden ailing conditions can turn out as bitter as bile. It can make you denounce the love you professed to each other and curse the day you exchanged love vows.
To know your significant other’s health status before you settle down is, thus, imperative. The medical tests will help you plan financially, psychologically, emotionally and physically to accommodate each other’s health needs and seek options if possible. They will also help you know if you can accommodate your partner’s condition or if you will need to call it quits to prevent a bitter taste of love.
Here are some very important medical tests you need to get done before you tie the knot:
Blood Group & Rhesus Compatibility
It is important to know your blood group and that of your lover to help you handle emergencies. Your blood group can either be A, B, O or AB.
Very significant of blood tests is the Rhesus factor, especially when it comes to pregnancy. There is greater chance of Rhesus incompatibility for a woman with Rhesus negative married to a man with Rhesus positive such that problems can occur during pregnancy if the baby is Rhesus positive.
Despite the fact that there are technological advancements, many couples have experienced intrauterine deaths and miscarriages because of blood group (Rhesus) incompatibility. It is a bitter ordeal to go through and you would want to prevent that.
Genotype (Sickle Cell)
Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affect haemoglobin (molecule in red blood cells that supplies oxygen to cells throughout the body). People with this disorder have atypical haemoglobin molecules called haemoglobin S which can distort red blood cells into a sickle shape.
The earlier you can do this test to know your status as normal (AA), carrier (AS) or patient (SS), the better because it helps you to know and understand yourself and your partner.
Two people getting married as AS-AS, AS-SS or SS-SS means they could end up having children who are sickle cell patients. This means that you need to think through the implications, complications and the available options.
HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
While a sexually transmitted infection like HIV is incurable, others like syphilis and gonorrhea are treatable. You need to know your statuses to be equipped with knowledge of how to protect yourselves in case you turn out to be positive, treat with proper medical care and minimize risks in marriage.
If they are not detected earlier, they can cause serious complications for you and even your children. Early detection and prompt treatment can go a long way to help prevent problems like infertility and miscarriages.
Many marriages are on the rocks because the couples cannot sow into fertile grounds. The ability to reproduce matter so much to almost every couple – especially in Africa – and you may want to know if the person you are marrying “can have children” by having a fertility test.
This can help you to plan for treatment (if possible) and consider options like adoption to avoid the associated complications. Women with anovulation (irregular cycles) should get their blood (reproductive hormones) tested; and men with their testes not present in their scrotum should also get their semen tested for sperm count.
Chronic (Genetic) Medical Conditions
Medical conditions like hepatitis, diabetes, some cancers, asthma and epilepsy among others often last a lifetime and may be hereditary. Testing for these illnesses are very necessary and should not just be tied-up to marriage.
It is important to note that a life partner with a chronic medical condition may need a round-the-clock care and support hence, the need to find out prior to marriage so that you don’t end up “checking your time every second”.
Knowledge of your statuses helps you make informed decisions with other issues such as the kind of work or activity to take up and the foods to eat; and allows you to seek medical care before the condition gets to its terminal stage.
Mental Health Status
Sound mental health is necessary for a breezeful marriage, otherwise, there can be so much noise in the home.
The earlier it is discovered that your lover has a mental health issue and addressed, the better it would be for both of you. So much mental strength, preparation, patience and understanding is required on the part of the healthy partner to provide better long-term care for the “sick spouse”.
It is also worth noting that some of these mental health conditions are hereditary and may be passed unto offspring.
It is a beautiful thing to be in love and married but marriage is a lifetime affair – “till death do you part”. It is therefore prudent to know and understand your medical health statuses.
Although there is nothing wrong with getting married to someone who is not wholly fit medically, it is alright to be aware of the medical health status of the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, at least, to know exactly what is in store for you. The medical test is not about mistrust but a case for building trust and transparency between you and your beloved.
True to say, you may test wholly healthy prior to marriage and then suffer a chronic medical condition after the marriage. However, if your partner is ready to stick with you in your ailing medical condition before marriage, then they will likely be glued to you in the same situation in the marriage.
The writer is a Love & Relationship Expert, licensed by the Ghana Psychology Council as a Counselor [Lay Practitioner]. He is a member of the Ghana Psychological Association, and the Ghana Academy of Christian Counselors. Contact: +233 (0) 207295852