Sunday, December 31, 2006

Down syndrome testing for all pregnant women

Letting a woman know in the first trimester if she has a downs baby, giving her the option to abort early:

There's a big change coming for pregnant women: Down syndrome testing no longer hinges on whether they're older or younger than 35. This week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists begins recommending that every pregnant woman, regardless of age, be offered a choice of tests for this common birth defect.

The main reason: Tests far less invasive than the long-used amniocentesis are now widely available, some that can tell in the first trimester the risk of a fetus having Down syndrome or other chromosomal defects.

It's a change that promises to decrease unnecessary amnios — giving mothers-to-be peace of mind without the ordeal — while also detecting Down syndrome in moms who otherwise would have gone unchecked.


It's not just a question of whether to continue the pregnancy. Prenatal diagnosis also is important for those who wouldn't consider abortion, because babies with Down syndrome can need specialized care at delivery that affects hospital selection, he added.

Read the rest here.

They can say that it's not a question of continuing the pregnancy all they want but those who are at risk and don't want evasive procedures can be treated as if they have a child with downs already. There's no need for all of this unless you want to make absolutely sure before you terminate your pregnancy,

I was 35 when I was pregnant with Samantha and my doctor began insisting that we test to make sure she didn't have downs. I told him I didn't need testing since I wouldn't do anything if they baby had downs sydrome. But he made me get genetic screening and the technican kept insisting it was a good idea for us to do an amniocentesis since their testing wasn't as accurate. And when I found out that I was more likely to have a spontaneous abortion from the amnio than have a downs syndrome baby, I was upset. Especially since I had just had a miscarriage a couple of months before I became pregnant with Samantha. To me the risks did not outweigh the benefit.

BTW, every time I was told that I really should have an amnio I would reply that there was nothing they could do to fix it and I wouldn't abort so what was the point, not once did they respond that it was because special care would be needed for the delivery.