Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A new test for Down syndrome.

What if there was a test during pregnancy that let you know that your child would later be in a terrible car accident and become completely incapacitated?  That's unrealistic right.  Well, would you want to know if your child was going to struggle with depression and suicidal issues in the future?  What would your choice be if you could know that down the road your little one will have MS, ALS, Alzheimer's, cancer or the other host of disorders and diseases that abound?  Would you choose to continue the pregnancy?  Would you end the life growing inside of you because that child was going to 'suffer' in 30, 40, or 50 years with one of these disorders?

My daughter has a genetic disorder.  NF1 is a genetic mutation of the 17th chromosome.  While it can mean some hardships in her life, it is also her genetic make-up, and effects who she is, and what she looks like.  I am extremely thankful that this wasn't known about before birth, nor is it common to test for it (a parent who already has it can request the testing).  I like my daughter.  I like her genetic make-up.  I DO NOT believe that her 17th chromosome being different than mine is something that needs to be 'fixed.'  I hope and pray that some of the things that can come along with NF can be treated or cured.  I don't want to change my little girl.

Recently a study came out talking about how parents, sibling, and people with Down syndrome perceived their lives as a result of Down syndrome.  You can read through the numbers on the links I provided, but I will sum it up for you:  these families are happy.  Divorce rates are lower.  Siblings, overwhelmingly, said they were better people as a result of having a sibling with Ds.  The study showed a great picture of joy that often surrounds the families of children who have Ds.

On the heels of the release of this study, comes a new test.  In general when a woman is pregnant there is some basic measurements and such done at an ultrasound that can look for markers of Ds.  There is a blood test they offer as well that assesses your risk through some hormone levels and factors in your maternal age and the like.  If you come back as higher risk in this category, or have some soft markers in the ultra-sound, but nothing definitive, you can, from there, choose to have an amniocentesis.  There is a risk of miscarriage with amnio though so it is often a hard decision.  However, as I've mentioned before, the abortion rate for people who find out they are pregnant with a child with Ds is 90-94%.  That means that for the 6-10 people you might meet that have Ds, 90-96 of their peers are not here.
But because amnio is risky, Sequenom developed a new, more accurate, blood test for Down syndrome.  This testing will increase the amount of woman who have genetic testing done for Ds, increase the amount of Ds diagnoses inutero, and therefore increase the amount of these precious little ones who are being aborted.  The test is supposed to help prevent people from having to have a 'risky' amnio on a 'healthy' child. 
Instead it exacerbates an already large problem to greater proportions.  We have an epidemic on our hands; a genocide that is taking the lives of children, who, if they were allowed to live, would most likely be happy in life, and cause their parents and sibling to feel similarly.  We fight to protect an endangered species of animal.  We fight against the killings and maiming of people in Tanzania that have albinism.  Both of those things are great things to stand up against, but  right here, in our front yard, we do all that we can fight for the 'right' to wipe out a whole people group because of their genetic make-up.

Doctors are known to lean towards the abortion route for expecting parents.  They give this grim diagnoses of what life is like with a child with Down syndrome, DESPITE the fact that studies clearly show that it is not the doom and gloom that most people are lead to believe.  People with Ds are active, wonderful parts or our society.  They grow up to have jobs, some go to college, and some get married.  JUST. LIKE. YOU.  People with Down syndrome have hopes and dreams, they have feelings, they have likes and dislikes.  Yes, they also have an extra chromosome, something many of their parents refer to as being 'chromosomally enhanced', not chromosomally challenged.
Matthew 25:40 states, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'  We are taking a vulnerable population, unborn children, with Down syndrome, and trying to prevent them from ever experiencing life outside of the womb.  That's what we are doing for Christ.  We are killing, because we see what we perceive as a weakness; a weakness that the families who experience it have shared does not cause the breakdown of their family.  A weakness, that some families, after experiencing it, go on to adopt another child with Down Syndrome.

'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' (2 Corinthians 12:9)  What if we are wiping out a whole group of people who show us Christ in a new and different way; a group of people who are made perfect in their imperfections?
What if we are so excited to see a new and better genetic test that we forget to see these beautiful children?

Emmie.  You can read about her here.

Liddy.  You can read about her here.

Verity, and

Katerina (Katie) are sisters.  You can read about them here.


These children are loved greatly by their families.  Their families are happy, active, and 'typical' families. 


  1. The links aren't working~~

    I am for the testing because with knowledge there is power. Parents can have all the resources set up and they will be able to speak the language of the disease when the child is born.

    There is a family member who went through some of the measurement tests for Downs and it was said with a very high certainty that she would give birth to a downs baby.

    She was given the choice to abort if she wanted to but she chose to carry on with the pregnancy.

    That baby is now 11 years old and is perfect in every way and is not a downs child at all.

  2. Andrea, I love this question:

    "What if we are wiping out a whole group of people who show us Christ in a new and different way; a group of people who are made perfect in their imperfections?"

    Well done!

  3. Rebecca,
    I think the links are fixed now. Sorry about that, not sure what happened.
    While I agree knowledge is power, this test isn't bringing about power. It's bringing about a higher number of abortions. And if you ask, the majority of people who find out about Ds during pregnancy are encouraged to terminate the pregnancy.

  4. Thank you for this post! You did a great job!

    This test is also very misleading. It does not detect if the child will be born with mosaic or translocation Ds. So surprise! you could still be blessed with one of these little critters! You would still have to have the invasive amnio to find out for sure. It also doesn't detect any other genetic disorder. It is only able to detect Trisomy 21. Genocide is the correct terminology Andrea, glad you didn't hesitate to use it.
    Ds is going extinct and that is a sin! This test is only pushing it in that direction.

    On a lighter note , what Dumplings!!! Oh they are so cute! That pic of Verity is scrumptious!!!