Why Would You Want to Screen for Down Syndrome?

Most parents probably would use a Down Syndrome test to prepare to care for their child. But the test is being offered more and more. It seems that a lot of parents will use the diagnosis to change their mind about being parents. This means a multitude of missed opportunities.

Some studies indicate that as many as 90 percent of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. How unfortunate. How fortunate, however, that the rate in Utah is significantly less:

A 1999 study showed that nationally, 90 percent of women terminate their pregnancies after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. But Utah's rate is much lower: 8.5 percent of fetuses with Down syndrome were aborted from 1995 to 2005, according to the Utah Birth Defect Network.

We don't have a Downs child in our family. So I can't say personally how it would affect our lives. But I have known several people who have. A handful of them have been close friends. In every case, the families of Downs children that I know or have known have been supremely grateful for the blessing and opportunity to have such a child in their family. From a religious perspective, they look forward to the day when their family member will be whole.

A Cedar Hills, Utah family was recently in the news for having chosen to bring their child into the world despite a diagnosis of Downs. Good for them. Life is tough, sometimes, but I hope and suspect that they regularly are glad that they chose to give life. It's too bad that more people across the country don't make that choice.


  1. My older brother and his wife are having their second child and they learned early on that he would have Down Syndrome.

    I know they have used the months of advanced notice that they had in order to prepare for the challenges presented, but I worry about the effect of wider testing when the result is nearly universal voluntary eugenics.


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