May 28, 2024

Alas, the good news was actually bad news

Down syndrome births are decreasing, not increasing

Last week there was heartening news for British Down syndrome lobby groups. A BBC radio documentary claimed that more women are choosing to keep Down syndrome children rather than abort them. However, this was just wishful thinking, according to an information service on the web run by the National Health Service. True, the number of Down syndrome children born increased slightly, but the number conceived had skyrocketed because of the growing proportion of older mothers. And these aborted them after a pre-natal diagnosis:

“Although the number of Down’s syndrome babies being born is up 4% since testing was introduced, it would have been expected to jump by an estimated 50% had testing and termination not been available (about 700 additional Down’s births in 2006). This is because many women now have babies later in life when the chances of having a Down’s syndrome child are considerably greater.

“Currently, 92% of women who receive an antenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome decide to terminate the pregnancy. This proportion has not changed since 1989, according to a report by the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register.” ~ NHS Choices

Down syndrome