A new test for trisomy 21 will make testing for Down Syndrome indicators easier, and more accurate, and it's been used in Hong Kong right now as we gestate. A simple blood test that predicts the genetic condition could be available soon that is 98% accurate, and allows a mother to avoid the invasive testing of amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling -- both of which come with a small chance of miscarriage.
This is good news, and allows families access to more information, without putting a pregnancy at risk. But a recent Time article asks if this means Down Syndrome will someday be extinct, as women learn earlier and are given results with more certainty.
Clearly they haven't met Sarah Palin.
But it's not just pro-life parents who get the chromosome information and decide a baby is wanted, no matter the challenges. Even as the numbers of babies born with Down Syndrome decline, there are mothers all over the socio-political spectrum who embrace their children, and would never consider terminating the pregnancy. I know one, and I'm sure you do too.
While not all of us are built to deal with special needs, large or small, many mothers and fathers welcome -- while bracing themselves for -- a tough road ahead. It doesn't mean that a mom-to-be's heart doesn't sink when hearing the news that her baby will be different, but it also doesn't mean that she will choose to end the pregnancy.
We all come to motherhood with different values, different life experiences, and we all make choices that the woman next to us in the waiting room would not necessarily make. So no, I don't think a new test for Down Syndrome can make babies disappear. I do think, however, that it is a welcome addition to pre-natal planning and should be celebrated, instead of feared.
Do you think more women will choose to terminate a Down Syndrome pregnancy with this test?
Image via Marco Raaphorst/Flickr