December 10, 2009 at 8:14 pm (News) (, )

I really appreciate NPR for their stories that are not really reported elsewhere.  I also enjoy hearing a full story rather than just a little blurp about the latest headline.

As I was driving they had a story about the rise in Down’s Syndrome births, attributing it to the later age that more and more women are having babies.  Down’s Syndrome births have increase 50%, from 6% of births to 9%  since 1979.  

They interviewed a woman who was saying that Down’s Syndrome folks have also become more visible in the public as they are going to school, some to college, and holding jobs, rather than being put away in an institution or holed up in their house.  I thought this story had the possibility of being something positive.  I had arrived at my destination but I sat in the car to finish out the story.

Then they had someone in the medical field talking about the tests that are done while the baby is still in the womb that can detect birth defects.  And the last line of the whole segment was something like this:  These tests can now be done much earlier in the pregnancy, when it is easier to terminate it.


My mouth dropped open and I was speechless.

I thought about what the world would be like without the people I know who have Down’s Syndrome and it made me sad.



  1. Adventures In Babywearing said,

    De- when Sarah Palin was on Oprah I started hearing people in the news talking about her son Trig and throwing around the percentages of pregnancies that are terminated when they believe the child has Down’s Syndrome. 90% are aborted.


    How can that be possible?


    • justaweeblether said,

      It is really sad. And I know of at least 2 people who had the test done and were told their child would have Down’s Syndrome and they did not.

  2. Erin said,

    Many people have screening tests, as we did with or first pregnancy, which basically give you a risk assessment for Down Syndrome by calculating your age, blood protein and hormones for that specific pregnancy. The majority of people told that they are high risk will not have babies with Down Syndrome. Even if they tell you your chance is 1:3, well, that’s still a greater chance of a chromosomally normal baby. I wonder if this was the situation for your friends, D?

    At that point, you can live with it, as we did. Or you can get an amniocentesis, which has something like a 99.9% accuracy rate. This also has a small chance of miscarriage, which to us, was unacceptable.

    I think it’s very sobering that researchers are working so hard to get earlier tests. It is like a search and destroy mission, and it makes me fearful. Especially because chances are they will be able to test for more and more things in the coming years.

    • Erin said,

      So that 90% stat refers to those people who not only get the prenatal screening tests, but go on to get the invasive diagnostic tests and are then told the baby has DS. There are so many parents who skip the testing altogether, or will do screening tests but not invasive ones. So it’s still a very sobering stat but fortunately, it does not mean 90% of people in general would not welcome a baby with DS.

    • justaweeblether said,

      Yes, it is scary. Having a brother with Down Syndrome and working with so many individuals with disabilities, it would just be very sad if they were not given a chance to live. It is already sad that so many of them were abandoned to the State at very early ages.

  3. Kacie said,

    Yep…me too.

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