Over lunch yesterday, this conversation came up, about one of our colleague's cousin having a Down syndrome baby...It's always sad to me, to hear this type of thing coz somehow, I pity the poor lil baby, and also pity the parents...
Commonly known, Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, associated with the presence of an extra chromosome 21, characterized by mild to severe mental retardation. Affected babies have weak muscle tone, a low nasal bridge, and epicanthic folds at the eyelids.
Since one of the friends who was lunching with us, P is planning for baby next year, we also spoke about pre-pregnancy test, prenatal test etc. For Down syndrome in particular, there's normal screening test (usually done over a blood test of the pregnant mother) to try to identify those pregnancies at "high risk". These pregnancies are then candidates for further diagnostic testing - Amniocentesis.
Amniocentesis is usually carried out between the 14th and 18th week of pregnancy, which is around 4th month. This procedure is used to collect amniotic fluid, the liquid that is in the womb. It's performed in the doctor's office or in the hospital on an "out-patient" basis. A needle is inserted through the mother's abdominal wall into the uterus, using ultrasound to guide the needle. Approximately one ounce of fluid is taken for testing. This fluid contains fetal cells that can be examined for chromosome tests. It takes about 2 weeks to determine if the fetus has Down syndrome or not.
As we were talking, I have this question in my mind which I put it forth to get some feedback. What happens if the Amniocentesis result came out to be positive where your baby is highly possibly having Down syndrome? Are you gonna keep the baby or not?
This is a tough question. P said he will rather not think about this until he really needs to make such decision. Most of us kept quiet...I agreed with P. What do you think? Will you keep the baby or not?