Saturday, January 06, 2007


No, not me. But the mother of a friend of Nate's who was over a few days ago. S told me and said his mom was "only half a month pregnant." As a knitter, I think "wow another baby to knit for." As a infertility patient with multiple miscarriages, I think "oh, no, I hope she's really not told him this soon." As the mother of a child with DS, I wonder what sort of prenatal testing she'll do.

The ACOG recently came out with new recommendations for first trimester screening for DS and other birth defects. I have very mixed feelings about the recommendations.

"Detecting problems earlier in the pregnancy may allow women to prepare for a child with health problems."

Yes, this is true, but, how well can you truly prepare for the birth of a child with a disability? As awful as the days after Nicky's birth were they were made easier because we had a child in arms to love and care for. Life with Nicky is more "normal" than it is "abnormal" he's really a typical kid in most ways.

"It also affords women greater privacy and less health risk if they elect to terminate the pregnancy."

Here's the rub. Studies have shown that the termination rate for babies diagnosed with DS prenatally is as high as 90%. I don't know if it's self selection in that those who wouldn't terminate don't get prenatal testing.

It is much harder for a woman to abort a pregnancy at 18 weeks, both physically and mentally. We did screening with Nicky at 17 weeks, by which time he'd been kicking for 4 weeks, I was firmly attached. The reasons we didn't go ahead with an amnio were that we knew we wouldn't abort for DS and fear of miscarriage. My triple screen results came back with a 1 in 60 chance of DS. The genetic counselor already had papers filled out for an amnio and was very surprised and a bit put off that we didn't get one.

I do hope that these new recommendations could be looked at as a chance for educating the public about what life for a child or adult with DS is really like. Hopefully, the choice to terminate isn't made out of fear or ignorance. Since meeting Nicky a few friends have told me their views have been changed about DS. By writing this blog hopefully, I'm doing a bit more to change minds.

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