In a move sure to have some of the anti-abortion crowd invoking Nazi references, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended every pregnant woman be offered testing for fetal Down Syndrome:
The main reason: Tests far less invasive than the long-used amniocentesis are now widely available, some that can tell in the first trimester the risk of a fetus having Down syndrome or other chromosomal defects.
It’s a change that promises to decrease unnecessary amnios — giving mothers-to-be peace of mind without the ordeal — while also detecting Down syndrome in moms who otherwise would have gone unchecked.
I’ve not been faced with the prospect of having a child with Down Syndrome, so I can’t say what my choice would be. Caught early enough, I might lean toward discussing ending the pregnancy, before (to my mind) the “personhood” of the fetus is in question.
Anyway, neither here nor there, I’m just mentioning the article as during Fiona’s incubatory period within the fertile wombosity of Mrs. WWR, we participated in one of the studies that lead to this recommendation.
The newest method, topping ACOG’s recommendation for everyone, is a first-trimester screening that combines blood tests with a simple ultrasound exam, called a “nuchal translucency test” to measure the thickness of the back of the fetal neck.
Studies from England, where the nuchal translucency combo has been used for about a decade, and the U.S. conclude that screening method is more than 80 percent accurate, with a very small risk of falsely indicating Down syndrome in a healthy fetus.
Happily, both of my children came out healthy, putting aside Fiona’s dyspraxia, a minor challenge to this day, and Ewan’s reluctance to eat anything that doesn’t look like (a) boob milk or (b) mashed up bananas with yogurt. Even with their little quirks and challenges, they’re the best things to happen to me and I wouldn’t trade’em for a buck fiddy and a bacon cheeseburger either.