Interestingly, while many parents I spoke to felt that their prenatal diagnoses were given in such a way to suggest that The vast majority of people terminate in the case of prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, the figures show that termination rates in instances of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome are actually dropping. One 2012 study,”Prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: a systematic review of termination rates (1995-2011),” published in Prenatal Diagnosis, by Jaime L. Natoli, et al., shows recent rates of termination between 67-85 percent compared to a 92-percent figure from studies in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors of the article suggest that the decrease in termination rates “may reflect progress in medical management for individuals with Down syndrome and advances in educational, social, and financial support for their families.” Others have suggested that the reduction in rates have to do with shifting demographics in the United States and wider use of prenatal testing, even among women who do not intend to terminate regardless of results.
IT’S IMPORTANT FOR PROSPECTIVE PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME TO UNDERSTAND “THERE IS SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY… NOT ONLY FOR YOUR CHILD TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE, A PRODUCTIVE LIFE, A MEANINGFUL LIFE, BUT ALSO FOR YOU TO EVEN IMPROVE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION WHAT THE FUTURE LIVES WILL BE LIKE.”
Of course, not all instances of Down syndrome are identified prenatally, but often receiving the news at a child’s birth doesn’t mean it’s given with much more sensitivity. One mother, Lacey Hartman Lautenschlager, whose daughter Emily was born soon after she turned 32 years old, describes how she found out about her daughter’s Down syndrome in an interview with Romper. Lautenschlager had experienced a typical pregnancy, save for seeing that the baby’s kidneys were slightly enlarged, but still within normal range, on a standard ultrasound. Other than this small difference, everything else seemed to progress typically. That is, everything progressed typically until Emily was born. Lautenschlager, whose husband was deployed at the time, explains that she knew something was wrong immediately:
When she was given Emily’s diagnosis hours later, the doctor delivered the news and then said, “We can’t catch all of them.”