Ever since the human genome was coded over a decade ago, a number of companies are making a fortune selling genetic pre-natal tests. All an expectant mother has to do is go into her doctor’s office and have blood drawn which is then sent to the testing company of choice. Those companies then check the blood for a variety of genetic or chromosomal traits that could warn the mother of possible serious birth defects or conditions like Down’s or Edward’s syndrome.
One of the more popular tests is MaterniT21 PLUS, provided by Sequenom Laboratories. According to their website:
Expectant couples are often overwhelmed with information. They’re anxious. They’re worried. And they’re looking to you for answers. The MaterniT21® PLUS laboratory-developed test provides you and your patients with highly accurate results so you and your patients can have important information.
The MaterniT21 PLUS test is a noninvasive prenatal test that detects fetal chromosomal abnormalities; from common (trisomies 21, 18 and 13) to the more rare (fetal sex aneuploidies, trisomies 16 and 22, and select microdeletions), all of the information reported is clinically relevant.
MaterniT21 PLUS sets the benchmark for noninvasive prenatal testing.
The MaterniT21 PLUS test is designed to capitalize on its powerful technological capabilities. Using versatile technology, the MaterniT21 PLUS test brings information to you and your patients in an unprecedented noninvasive prenatal test.”
From the company information, you get the idea that if your test comes back stating that there is the likelihood of your baby having a severe genetic abnormality, you would tend to believe it to be true. But like so many other things in life, a little information can be deadly without knowing more about what’s going on.
That’s what happened to Stacie Chapman. She had gone to her doctor to have blood drawn for the MaterniT21 PLUS pre-natal test. When the results came in, her doctor called her to tell her that her unborn baby tested positive for Edward’s syndrome, a condition that suggested that if her baby was born alive that it most likely would not live very long at all. Her doctor explained that the company claims the test is 99% accurate, but she offered additional testing if Chapman wanted.
Chapman was distressed over the news and decided it would be best to abort her baby rather than going through with the pregnancy and birth only to lose the baby anyway. Her husband was away on business and she called him with the news and he agreed with her decision to avoid having their baby suffer by aborting it now. Her doctor then put her in contact with someone who would perform the abortion the next morning.
Stacie spent the afternoon sobbing and conducting research about Edward’s syndrome on the internet. While she was reading how terrible the condition was, her doctor called her back and urged her to wait. She had been reviewing Stacie’s medical records and suggested further testing. Stacie agreed and is glad she did as the second test revealed that her unborn son did not have Edward’s syndrome.
Realizing how close they came to aborting their son haunts the couple. To hear their story, click here.
What the Chapmans and their doctor learned is that pre-natal tests like the one they used only tested for the POSSIBILITY of a genetic problem, but it does not test for an actual diagnosis. But many parents have found themselves in the same place the Chapmans were with a positive test and believing that their unborn child had a terrible condition, so they end up aborting what may have been perfectly healthy babies.
These pre-natal tests claim a very high degree of accuracy and they are un-regulated at this time. I believe that they need to be regulated and forced to inform parents that their tests only yield a possibility, NOT a diagnosis. Parents considering murdering their unborn children based upon misleading pre-natal tests should be required to undergo further testing to confirm whether or not their child has the condition the test indicated. Countless lives would be saved if the pre-natal testing industry was regulated and cleaned up.
But one thing is for certain; these pre-natal tests have led to an increase in abortions of both unhealthy and healthy babies because parents are scared by what they are told without knowing all of the facts.