A rise in the number of marriages between cousins in Britain has prompted calls for a crackdown on the practice amid warnings it is putting children's health at risk.
Crossbench peer Baroness Deech has called for a 'vigorous' public campaign to deter marriages between family members, which is common in Muslim and immigrant communities.
Her comments come as figures show up to 75 per cent of British Pakistanis in some areas are married to first cousins.
She is also expected to call for testing for genetic defects when marriages between family members are arranged and for a register of people carrying genetic diseases to be set up in order for two carriers not to be introduced.
She said such a scheme could be possible in Bradford, which has the UK's highest population of Pakistanis. Up to three-quarters of Pakistanis in Bradford are married to their first cousins.
The trend is also evident in Birmingham, where figures show that one in ten of all children born to first cousins died in childhood or suffered from a serious genetic disorder
British Pakistanis, half of whom marry a first cousin, are 13 times more likely to produce children with genetic disorders
than the general population, according to Government-sponsored research.
Although British Pakistanis account for three per cent of the births in this country, they are responsible for 33 per cent
of the 15 to 20,000 children born each year with genetic defects.
Baroness Deech will also suggest that married first cousins use in-vitro fertilisation so that embryos can be tested for recessive diseases.
'Human right and religious and cultural practices are respected not by banning cousin marriage,' she will argue.
'But those involved must be made aware of the consequences.'
Lady Deech will also call for an education campaign to warn of the health risks of such marriages, but will stop short of urging a ban.
'There is no reason, one could argue, why there should not be a campaign to highlight the risks and preventative measures, every bit as vigorous as those centring on smoking, obesity and Aids.'
Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inyat Bunglawala welcomed Lady Deech's comments.
He said cousin marriage was popular even though Islamic teaching encouraged wedlock outside the immediate family.
'Certainly education has an important role to play in this area. There are clear dangers to marrying a close relative, which need to be better understood.'