Below is the collection of news reports, blog posts, and opinion pieces collected for today related to Down syndrome and prenatal testing. The stories today seemed to have a theme more than other days.
Over at the news page is a running list of news items with short commentary. Today’s selections are copied below. You will see that the “non-invasive prenatal testing market [is] set to explode” with tremendous growth over the next five years. This is due to some women who would otherwise decline conventional screening tests agree that they would have NIPS, due to its lack of risk and higher accuracy. However, how is prenatal testing being administered? One mom, whose second child has Down syndrome, was offered prenatal testing in four consecutive prenatal care visits during her fourth pregnancy. One commentator, spurred by a report that 53 out of 54 moms who received a positive NIPS result aborted their pregnancies (a 98% termination rate), is concerned that prenatal testing will stigmatize those who choose to have children with Down syndrome. And, another mom’s tweet suggests that is already happening, having been asked “Didn’t you have prenatal testing. You could’ve done something about it.”
Here’s the full entry from today. You can find other entries at the News page.
- British Department of Health launches investigation into sex-selective abortions after 2011 Census report:
The analysis of families registered on the census revealed that the practice of aborting females following an ultrasound scan to determine sex is likely to account for the “disappearance” of between 1,400 and 4,700 girls among the communities where gender-based abortions appear to be prevalent.
Policy changes being considered include withholding gender information during pregnancy. The paradox of prenatal testing for sex being roundly seen as improper where it allows for selective abortion while prenatal testing for Down syndrome is recommended precisely because it results in more selective abortions persists.
- New study from Britain reports increased uptake for NIPS can be expected, with those who would decline conventional screening saying they would have NIPS and some of those would terminate following a positive result; similar percentage say they would not terminate.
- A mom wonders “Why are we afraid of Down syndrome?” recounting how she is in her fourth pregnancy and her second child having Down syndrome:
Prenatal tests are pushed with urgency as preventative measures like Tdap vaccines and flu shots. I was asked four visits in a row if I was “sure” I didn’t want prenatal testing: after all, I could be having a baby who has Down syndrome.
Her answer to the question: “the number one reason I was so afraid of Down syndrome when Kate was born is because I had never been exposed to it.”
- A commentator in Japan says “now is the time to address problems in non-invasive prenatal testing,” where the termination rate is reported as 98% following a positive NIPT result for Down syndrome. The writer expresses her concern about the stigmatizing effect NIPT poses:
I fear that the continued spread of NIPT under the current circumstances will ultimately encourage the selection of certain lives over others, reinforcing a social climate in which bearing and raising children with disabilities is extremely difficult.
- One mom’s tweet: “Didn’t you have prenatal testing? You could have done something about it.” #abledpeoplesay #Downsyndrome”
- Non-invasive prenatal testing market “set for explosive growth” over next 5 years.
- New patient pretest pamphlet on prenatal testing receives recognition from National Society for Genetic Counselors.
- FDA approves new postnatal test for intellectual and developmental disabilities due to chromosomal conditions. No NIPS lab has received FDA approval for non-invasive prenatal screening.