Down Syndrome Test Available for Pregnant Women Under 35

May 10, 2007 01:33 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The majority of babies born with Down syndrome are born to women under 35, but that may change as doctors are now offering screening tests to pregnant women in this age group, igniting a debate over ethical obligations.

30 Second Summary

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued a new recommendation for doctors to provide a new screening test for all pregnant women regardless of age. 

Previously, amniocentesis, a prenatal screening test, was recommended only for women over 35 as they are at an increased risk for having a child with chromosomal defects. This test is safer than amniocentesis as it can diagnose chromosomal defects through one sonogram and two blood tests.

Parents of children with Down syndrome are concerned about a drastic decrease in funding and support that might occur if wider prenatal testing leads to a smaller Down syndrome population.

Approximately 5,500 babies are born each year with Down syndrome. According to the New York Times, about 90 percent of women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have an abortion. More diagnoses as a result of increased testing could increase the rate of abortion and lower the number of babies born with Down syndrome.




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