Friday, July 9, 2010

Dave Andrusko covered the story about a new drug for prenatally testing Down syndrome that is on the horizon, and I was quoted in his post:   

A few additional comments about the new test:

Although the chances of conceiving a baby with Down syndrome are greater the older a mother becomes, it is estimated that about 80 percent of babies with Down syndrome are actually born to mothers under the age of 35. This is because younger mothers are the ones having most of the babies.

Up until recently, prenatal testing was offered primarily to mothers 35 and older because of this greater "risk." However, in 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) came out with new guidelines, recommending that ALL pregnant mothers be offered screening and diagnostic testing. This is now standard practice.

What this means is that previously, most of the babies with Down syndrome were "undetected" because they were being born to mothers younger than 35 who had not been offered prenatal testing. However, now that ALL women are being offered testing, many more babies WILL be "detected."

Still, invasive tests, such as amniocentesis and corionic villus sampling (CVS), are currently the only methods of definitively diagnosing Down syndrome prenatally. Many women decline these diagnostic tests because they carry a slight risk of miscarriage, a chance they are not willing to take. So there are probably still babies with Down syndrome being born who have not been "detected."

However, when this new diagnostic test comes on the scene, most mothers will most likely agree to testing.  As a result, many more babies with Down syndrome will be "detected." And because Down syndrome will be definitively diagnosed much earlier in pregnancy, when abortion is less "complicated," many more mothers will also choose abortion.

The bottom line is that the large number of babies who would have been "undetected" and born will now become "detected" and aborted.

Of course, there is always the possibility that many mothers will decline this inexpensive, quick, accurate, non-invasive test; but that is unlikely. And it is also possible that once Down syndrome is diagnosed, many mothers will refuse an abortion. But the statistics tell us that the vast majority of mothers - currently about 90 percent - will choose abortion.

This new test is a death knell for babies with Down syndrome.

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