Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Down Syndrome & Prenatal Testing

I want to thank this blog for the chance to be a guest blogger! I regularly blog over at Got Down Syndrome and was invited over here to do a guest blog post.

My wonderful little brother is 6 ½ years old and he happens to have Down Syndrome (DS). Because of him, I keep up to date with the latest happenings in everything that involves DS.

One recent development is a new, non-invasive prenatal test for detecting Down Syndrome. This test developed by Sequenom is called MaterniT21. This test is a blood test (blood test for the mother) which is used to detect the baby’s DNA in the mother’s blood. The accuracy of this new test is 98.6%-99.1%. 

I have no problem with a company developing a prenatal test for Down syndrome, if the sole purpose is to better the lives of the unborn child with Down Syndrome. But, unfortunately, research shows that 92% of women who are given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to abort their baby with DS. 

This is largely due to the fact that most professionals – obstetricians, gynecologists, geneticists, counselors, etc – do not give accurate information about Down Syndrome. As with our family, when we were told that my brother had Down Syndrome (after he was born), we were given very outdated information about DS. And we were told all these things that he would not do or would do at a very late time. 

That wasn’t the truth. That wasn’t reality. 

So why do most professionals do this? There is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet, in families, from Down Syndrome associations, etc that shows what people with Down Syndrome can do. And what families can do to help their children with Down Syndrome. 

It’s very sad to me that so many people would choose abortion when they find out their child has Down Syndrome, instead of trying to find out what they could do to help their child. Thankfully there are some families who choose to keep their baby with Down Syndrome when they are given the prenatal diagnosis, but they are the exception. And that’s not the way it should be. It should be the norm for people to keep their babies with Down Syndrome.

There is so much you can do to help children with Down Syndrome. When we were given such a grim, dark diagnosis, we decided to set out and find out all we could to help my brother. It took a lot of time and research, but our research has paid off. God has blessed my brother tremendously and he is doing very well. He exceeded and completely bypassed all the dark predictions we were told when he was born. One thing we were able to find out about was targeted nutritional intervention for Down Syndrome. That helped my brother tremendously and it changed his life

Because of this passion of wanting to see less babies with Down Syndrome aborted and more families be given accurate information, we put together a 600 page book compiled with information from all sorts of doctors, therapists, professionals, families, etc to show what you can do. The book is rightly named, Down Syndrome: What You CAN Do. You can view a 15 page preview, as well as order the book at

I want to thank this blog for the chance to share some of our story, in the hopes that more awareness about Down Syndrome will be raised. After all, October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!