Friday, October 17, 2008

Hidden Risks of Down Syndrome Screening

Down Syndrome Screening Causes 2 Miscarriages for Every 3 Cases Detected

New research to be published in the Down's Syndrome Research and Practice Journal found that the miscarriage risk from amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) carried a 1-2% risk of miscarriage of typically developing infants.

The tests are usually only offered to women considered at risk; however due to the wide initial screening threshold, over 95% of women determined to be at risk will go on to have the tests and find that the results are negative.

The mindset behind the screenings is to "help women make informed decisions about their pregnancies". The research also called the skill and experience of those administering the procedures into question.

Before consenting to these or other procedures, ask yourself if knowing about the condition would change your plan of action for the pregnancy. If the answer is no, then consider refusing such screenings.

Many women choose the screenings to give themselves time to mentally and emotionally prepare to care for a child with special needs. However, due to false positives, some families are told their infants will have such conditions only to find that after months on end of worry, their fears were unfounded.

The moral of the story is to make informed decisions. If you know the risks of the screenings outweigh the benefits to your family, then don't hesitate to refuse them. You are your child's first advocate. Parenting begins with the decisions you make in pregnancy.

Choose well, choose wisely.


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