Prenatal Tests Raise Ethical Concerns Regarding Elimination of Patients with Down syndrome

Published By : 01 Feb 2016 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Non-invasive prenatal testing is done to screen for foetal chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. The increasing average maternal age across the globe has led to high incidence of babies born with chromosomal disorders. Growing demand for early foetal tests has augmented the growth of the global non-invasive prenatal testing market. However, regulatory guidelines and ethical hurdles will pose as major hurdles in the market growth. 

Types of Prenatal Tests to Detect Chromosomal Disorders

The most common prenatal screening tests such as NIFTY, MaterniT21 PLUS, verifi, Prena Test, Panorama, Bambni Test, and Harmony, which measure levels of specific substances in the maternal bloodstream, are the first trimester screening tests. These screening tests also utilize information from an ultrasound of the baby. These tests, which deliver results in a “risk score” format forecast the risk of Down syndrome and other trisomal disorders, as well as neural tube defects. 

Prenatal Testing, Ethical Hurdles, and the Real Condition of Patients Suffering from Down Syndrome 

Last week, an article in the Telegraph carried a headline- “Down’s Syndrome people risk ‘extinction’ at the hands of science, fear and ignorance”. The article reflects the ethical hurdles faced by researchers in developing advanced methods for screening of chromosomal disorders at foetal stage. While the screening tests help expectant mothers to decide whether to abort the foetus or continue with the pregnancy, these tests are not at all meant to eliminate people with such condition. However, in case an expectant mother decides to give birth to a baby with Down syndrome, the child and the families face a number of difficulties such as:

  • Health problems ranging from heart defects, leukemia, dementia, and infectious diseases.
  • Financial hurdles in families attending to a member with Down syndrome.
Back To Top