Deciding on what to name a baby is not the only thing parents need to consider these days.
Through the enhanced field of science, DNA testing is providing parents with information that perhaps the expecting couple’s parents may never had been confronted with. Through prenatal testing, amniotic fluid is collected and tested from the fetus in order to indicate whether there are any chromosomal abnormalities. Although the testing reveals a potential horrific truth about the future of a mother’s pregnancy, it is an informative test that has helped parents-to-be make difficult decisions that will be for the benefit of other children in the household and of course for the life of the unborn child.
Although the topic is sometimes too hot to handle, it is nonetheless an important topic to address. Recently, in an article from the New York Times in the publication’s Motherlode section, a mother expresses her decision that her husband and her had to make when finding out that their unborn child had a high percentage of being born with Downs Syndrome. With two other children in the household, the couple discussed or in a better illustration, according to the New York Times, “My husband and I sobbed and raged, together and separately. He stopped eating and sleeping. He expressed thoughts of suicide and of walking away from the family — emotionally, if not physically. There was nothing I or anyone could say to convince him that Down syndrome need not be a tragic diagnosis. He could only imagine a severely disabled child, one who would know nothing but suffering and pain.” Through a tough decision considering the children they already had and the life of their unborn child, the couple decided to terminate the pregnancy. The mother also mentions in her response to the NYT that it was almost a known answer from the start. “How could I bear a child whose father didn’t want him — was afraid of him? How could I rob my older children of their dad?”
The distressed mother ends her response with the fact that she feels she made the best decision. She recognizes that she is now part of a majority of couples that terminate pregnancies and even expresses sporadic “pangs of regret,” however she also lets her readers know that it was not an easy decision, just the best for her and her family.
What would any one couple decide to do in a similar circumstance? Prenatal DNA paternity testing might present an additional and difficult decision for couples, but it certainly helps individual couples make a life changing choice. Raising a child with a chromosomal abnormality like Downs Syndrome takes a certain kind of life that not every couple is capable of giving. If a couple should decide to raise a baby with Downs Syndrome, testing will in turn, give them sufficient notice to plan for the future of the child. Talking with parents of children with Downs Syndrome and also discussing with doctors what the best steps are in raising a child with this disability, are two important things parents can do before the baby is born, all thanks to the capabilities of DNA testing.