Down Syndrome and the Continuing Debate
Debate Continues around Down Syndrome and What to Do When It’s Detected Early in Pregnancy
In the last two weeks there has been plenty of discussion surrounding Down syndrome in early pregnancy. More specifically what is the best way to determine if a baby does have Down syndrome and what to do if they unborn baby does have it.
There are some writers who seem to think the simplest solution is to have an abortion if a fetus tests positive for Down syndrome. Others however, do not see it as so cut and dry. After all, no test for Down syndrome in early pregnancy can definitively tell you if the fetus does or does not have Down syndrome. In fact, most tests can only you tell you the risk of your unborn child having Down syndrome.
But To Be Blithe about Aborting a Baby Just Because It Has Down Syndrome Seems A Little Medieval
As medical science has progressed, it has found ways of helping people with Down syndrome. Which is important: they are people, not—as one writer put it—a tragedy.
Simply put, Down syndrome is a genetic condition where a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. What this means is that the extra copy of chromosomes affects a number of physical and developmental characteristics as well as some level of intellectual disability. Also, there is not just one form of Down syndrome there is three:
- Trisomy 21
- Mosaic Down syndrome
- Traslocation Down syndrome
OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care offers Down Syndrome Screening
With advances in medical science have come safe, accurate and non-invasive, non-surgical tests to determine the risk of your child having—or not having—Down syndrome. At our Sydney clinics we offer Down syndrome screening also known as the nuchal translucency scan. Using this scan, OMNI is able to determine the risk of your baby being born with Down syndrome.
The Nuchal Translucency scan is able to determine if your pregnancy has a low or high risk of Down syndrome. After this screen you and your partner can decide if you want a more invasive test. An invasive test such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or aminocentesis, however, do carry with them a small chance of miscarriage (0.5%-1.0%).
The Nuchal Translucency scan is usually performed between 11 and 13 weeks. It’s an ultrasound that is either done through the stomach or, depending on the position of the baby and your womb, a vaginal scan—the vaginal scan will give better views.
For More Comprehensive Results OMNI Combines the Nuchal Translucency Scan with a Biochemical Test
To increase the accuracy of the test, OMNI measures the level of two placental hormones in your blood. In order to calculate the risk of your baby having Down syndrome we combine the maternal age, thickness of the Nuchal Translucency measurement, the length of the baby and the levels of two placental hormones in your blood. Most women who undergo this combined test have a very low risk of Down syndrome—in fact the risk is less than 1 in 300.
If you chose to undergo the Down syndrome screening and then decide to proceed with a move invasive test, you don’t have to do so immediately. This is a big decision to make and we do not want you to feel rushed.
This test can be performed up until you are fifteen weeks, after which you will need to undergo an invasive test to make sure whether your baby does or does not have Down syndrome.
Talk to your GP, Obstetrician or Specialist about visiting OMNI for a scan today.