Population based genetic counseling that promotes public health goals is an appropriate health care service. The genetic counseling center in Shiraz, southern Iran serves most of the clients in the region. During a 4-year period, 2,686 couples presented for genetic counseling. Data files revealed that 85% had consanguineous relationships (1.5% double first cousin, 74% first cousin, 8% second cousin, 1.5% beyond second cousin). Most prevalent reasons for referral were premarital counseling (80%), with 89% consanguinity, followed by preconception (12%), postnatal (7%), and prenatal counseling (1%). The most common abnormalities in probands or relatives were intellectual and developmental disabilities, hearing loss/impairment, and neuromuscular dystrophies. Family history of medical problem(s) and/or consanguinity was the main indication for referral in nearly every family. Premarital consanguinity poses unique challenges and opportunities. There is considerable opportunity for genetic counseling and education for couples in this population. The tradition of consanguinity, which is likely to persist in Iran, requires multidisciplinary agreement regarding the appropriate process of genetic counseling. Effective genetic counseling in Iran hinges on inclusion of data from genetic counseling services in national genomic and epidemiologic research programs.