I am 17 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have undergone TST and the fetus has been found to be positive for Down’s Syndrome. As per the report the ratio is 1:65. My doctor had advised me for a fetus sampling test and the results of it are expected in next few days. I am feeling very scared. My husband says that I be should be considering abortion of the fetus. But I don’t want to. What is the right thing to do? I don’t want my child to live in hardship. If I do abort then will there be any difficulty in conceiving in future? Is there any chance that the second time I conceive the fetus will be infected with Down’s Syndrome again?
I am sure your doctor has explained what is Down’s Syndrome (DS) and how it occurs in a fetus. This is caused by an irregularity during cellular development in a fetus leading to the formation of an extra chromosome. This additional chromosome affects the development of the baby’s body and brain.
Since the TST has already found that your baby has DS, it is advisable that you undergo a test of amniocentesis since you are in the 17th week of your pregnancy. During this test, a needle will be inserted into the uterus to draw out a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. This sample will later be tested for the number of chromosomes present to conclusively determine whether your baby has DS.
It is best if you speak to your doctor about how DS affects children once they are born. They face many challenges when it comes to achieving milestones, learning, appearance and overall development. This is why they need extra and special care as they grow from the time they are born till they are older, which puts a lot of pressure on parents.
You need to discuss with your husband whether both of you are prepared to take this additional responsibility of a child with special needs. You can accordingly take the decision whether you should go ahead with the pregnancy or not. Some parents prefer not to bring a child with DS into the world and make them go through life facing more difficulties than is needed. Others feel they can handle these additional responsibilities of raising a child with special needs. It is a personal choice and you should make an informed decision.
You will be heartened to know that if you decide to go for another baby, then there are very negligible chances that it will have DS. However as a safety precaution, your husband and you should get a Karyotyping done before you plan another baby. This test identifies any genetic problems that your fetus might suffer, before you conceive.