Abortion After Amnio Is Wrong

Marj Hatzell

Routine ultrasound?
Chances are that at some point in your pregnancy, your doctor, midwife, or practitioner recommends you get some routine tests, like rh factor or gestational diabetes, especially in your second trimester. If they haven't recommended them yet, there's a good chance they will or at least will give you some information about them.

But then there are more invasive prenatal tests. And it's those tests that are questionable. Are they really necessary? Are they harmful to baby and mother? Is it worth risking the health of the mother or baby just to find out some information that may or may not be accurate?

Sure, some blood and urine tests make sense. It makes sense to be aware of possible gestational diabetes and keeping an eye on blood pressure could warn of preeclampsia. There are some blood tests that are no more evasive than drawing blood to look for abnormalities. But an amniocentesis? Chorionic Villus Sampling? Cordocentesis? They all come with risks that I'm not so sure I'd be willing to take. If it means potentially harming the fetus or mother, FORGET IT. It's just not worth it, in my humble opinion.

Unless the test in question comes with an opportunity to treat a medical problem BEFORE the baby is born (like, rh factor. THAT one makes sense), why risk it? While I understand that some parents use these tests to determine whether or not they choose to carry the fetus to term, I feel like it's going against Mother Nature. You don't (or shouldn't) get to pick whether you want a boy or girl nor should you choose to terminate a pregnancy because you have a chance of delivering a child with Down Syndrome or another chromosomal abnormality. And while I understand it is every woman's choice to make and it's her body (and believe me, I support that end of it 100% and think government needs to stay OUT OF OUR UTERI, MMKAY?), I have a major issue with folks who are selecting what they think is the "perfect child" through genetic selection. And it's done, believe me. 

It's one thing to have a complication that is dangerous to the life of the mother or baby. It's another thing entirely to say, "Well, they have a club foot. I'm not able to deal with that." While in some ways I imagine it's better that a parent who can't deal with something like a club foot to have that baby, I still feel it's wrong. And the results of these tests are stressful and scary to parents. Especially if the results turn out to be wrong. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't even want to know the sex of my baby before it's born. I don't want to know about special needs ahead of time, unless it's a medical issue that can be treated ahead of time.

But to have a needle inserted into my abdomen or through my cervix to draw blood to perform a test that carries a false-positive rate? NO. Taking a sample of the placenta? NO. The risk of miscarriage is too great, at 1% or 1 in 1,000. Infection and other complications can result. Not worth it.

And to all who say that it's too difficult to raise a child with special needs, know this: I am raising children with special needs. It's a rewarding (although, admittedly, difficult) life. You learn very quickly to appreciate the little things in life and to have hope. To quote a school yard chant at my kid's school, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." Or in more adult terms, Life has no guarantees and you have to make the best of what you've got.

Do you think more invasive prenatal tests are necessary?

Image via fonticulus/Flickr

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