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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Some of the challenges of prenatal diagnosis

A combination of events that will make non-invasive pre-natal testing much more widely available, and are likely to lead to a sharp drop in the numbers of births of babies with Down syndrome, is provoking thoughtful and strong opinions from many families and professionals.

The media focus shifts between the claims of 100% accuracy for a range of tests in clinical trials (which might well be correct), the impact on the share price of the companies that will market the tests commercially, and the wider ethical and cultural questions raised (some of which has been the subject of previous posts).

These three writers' recent publications come from first hand experience of living with a person with Down syndrome, and an examination of that experience that goes way beyond sentiment:

Amy Julia Becker, writing in the Philadelphia Enquirer, 20th July 2008:
Down Syndrome is a part of who my daughter is

Beverly Beckham, writing for the Boston Globe, 20th July 2008: Learning Love from Baby Grace

Fiona Place, in M/C Journal (a journal of media and culture), July 2008: Amniocentesis and Motherhood: How Prenatal Testing Shapes Our Cultural Understandings of Pregnancy and Disability. Fiona, who lives in Sydney, writes a column in our quarterly Newsletter, and maintains her own website: Down Syndrome: A Parent's Perspective

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