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Seen through loving eyes

September 21, 2009

Boston Globe readers have become familiar with little Lucy over the past few years . . . through the eyes of her grandmother, Beverly Beckham. Mrs. Beckham’s fears and joys, and most especially her pride are shared openly in her column. Here is her latest, discussing the development of new, less invasive prenatal tests:

Seen through loving eyes

By Beverly Beckham Globe Columnist / September 20, 2009

lucy

My granddaughter Lucy is six years old and is part of a class of people that is quietly being eliminated in my country. She has Down syndrome, a genetic condition that frightens so many women that 92 percent of those who learn they are carrying babies with it choose to abort.

Dr. Brian Skotko, a genetics fellow at Children’s Hospital, fears this number will rise. Prenatal tests are invasive, carry a risk to the fetus, and are given in the second trimester, so many women choose not to have them. But a simple new and non-invasive blood test, to be given early in a woman’s pregnancy, is coming, perhaps as early as next year.

As new tests become available, will babies with Down syndrome slowly disappear?’’ Skotko ponders in a soon-to-be-published article in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, (a British medical journal) available online now.

It’s easy to understand why parents fear a diagnosis of Down syndrome. You Google definitions of it, and even now archaic words and misinformation pop up. It’s the same in doctors’ offices. Pregnant women are told only the negatives. Old stereotypes linger. continue

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