Last Thursday we had our first trimester screening to test for chromosomal deficiencies, particularly Down Syndrome. From the resulting measurements from the USG images, the doctor said that our baby looks normal, but it only means that the risk is very low. We need to wait for the results of the blood tests for further confirmation. But the whole experience does make us ponder on how we would react in case our baby is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. The statistics of pregnancy termination after diagnosis of Down Syndrome are chilling, indeed. Wikipedia sums it well:
“About 92% of pregnancies in the United Kingdom and Europe with a diagnosis of Down syndrome are terminated. In the United States termination rates are around 67%… When non pregnant people are asked if they would have an termination if their fetus tested positive 23-33% said yes, when high risk pregnant women were asked 46-86% said yes, and when women who screen positive are asked 89-97% say yes.”
In Singapore, the termination rate is around 45%. But the number came from 1998, and you could see the increasing trend from the graph on the paper. In Australia, 95%. So, if you are seeing less number of people with Down Syndrome, it’s not because the mutation is happening less often, but that we have killed more fetuses/terminated more pregnancies with it.