New Down Syndrome Test Raises Abortion Concerns

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Studies show one in every 691 babies is affected by Down syndrome.
   
Amniocentesis, the prenatal test commonly used to help diagnose the disease, is invasive.

A needle is used to remove fluid from the mother's uterus, something that leads to a greater chance of miscarriage.
   
However, a new test has hit the market that experts say is safer. The simple blood test can be done as early as 10 weeks into a woman's pregnancy.
    
If the results come back positive, an amnio would be needed to confirm a Down syndrome diagnosis.
    
If the results are negative, there's no need for the invasive procedure.
    
The company producing the new test says it's 98 percent accurate. But critics question whether the test is reliable enough to actually replace an amnio.

"The only thing that I worry about with the test is that it really is only a test for Down syndrome, and there are many, many other chromosomal abnormalities that women are screened for with chorionic multi-sampling and amniocentesis," said Dr. Susan Klugman, director of Reproductive Genetics.

The risk for having a child with Down syndrome increases with a mother's age.

Women over the age of 35 have a one in 350 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. Women over 45 have a one in 30 chance.

Although the new test may help to diagnose a child, some worry it could lead to more couples choosing abortion.
    
Advocates for Down syndrome say parents not only need to be educated about early screening options, but also on what it's like to have a child with Down syndrome.
    
A recent survey by the Children's Hospital in Boston of parents raising a child with Down syndrome shows that 79 percent feel that their outlook on life is more positive because of their child.

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