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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Downs Syndrome and amniocentesis

Is on the rise according to statistics just released by the Centers for Disease Control. If I had to guess this is due to women having babies later in life where the possibility of birth defects increases. Because the amnio can determine birth defects, and some mothers choosing to abort rather than have the child, the rate would be even higher.

My dear wife got pregnant with Daniel when she was 40. Mothers age 35 or more are given genetic counseling and the option of having an amniocentesis done. That's where a needle is inserted into the mother and a tiny bit of amniotic fluid is extracted from the baby's sac. The odds of a mother having a child with Down's is 1 in 100. There is a risk in having an amnio, 1 in 100 to 1 in 200 of it causing a miscarriage.

Dear Wife was being seen by a high risk OB or perinatologist. She was scheduled for genetic counseling. I was there at the appointment. The woman comes in the room and introduces herself. Then begins to talk to us.

She left the room about two minutes later. Me and dear wife discussed this. We don't believe in abortion, why have the amnio? It endangers the child's life and for what reason? Nothing can be done for a child who has Down's. Unless the mother plans on aborting, she for no reason should have this test.

That's just my and dear wife's take on amniocentesis.

Open Post- Choose Life, Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Wizbang, TMH's Bacon Bits,

ATLANTA -- Down syndrome in the United States is more common than previously thought, at one case for every 733 live births, according to a new government report containing what are regarded as the most reliable estimates yet on the prevalence of 18 types of birth defects.

Previously, Down syndrome, a type of retardation caused by a genetic mutation, was estimated to occur in a range of one in every 800 live births to one in every 1,000.

The report, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that cleft lip occurs in about one in every 1,000 births, and cleft palate in about one in every 1,500.

The report was celebrated by advocacy groups that help families affected by birth defects. They noted that the new numbers are based on statewide data, while previous estimates were derived from selected clinics and hospitals.

"Until now, there's been a real dearth of good, reliable, national statistics on Down syndrome," said Suzanne Armstrong, spokeswoman for the National Down Syndrome Society.

The risk of Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, from an estimated 1 in 2,000 among 20-year-old women to 1 in 100 for women age 40. Many women are having babies later in life, which might explain the higher rate in the new study.

But because the new statistics were not collected in the same way as the old, it is not clear whether Down syndrome has really increased, Armstrong and others said.

The reported incidence of Down syndrome would be higher if not for abortions among women who decide to terminate their pregnancy after prenatal tests show the fetus has the chromosomal disorder. In the CDC estimates, some but not all of the 11 states included fetuses that were diagnosed with the condition but were aborted or miscarried, said Margaret Honein, a CDC epidemiologist and report co-author.

From 1974 until the mid-1990s, the government tracked birth defects through a system that relied on hospital discharge reports. But not all hospitals were represented, and researchers said it was possible that the participating hospitals attracted more or fewer problematic births than the norm.

In 1997, the government established a system for collecting and combining data from all birth hospitals, clinics and referral centers in certain parts of the country.

The new report presents statewide data for Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. It also has data from the metropolitan Atlanta area, the Central Valley in California and a group southern Alabama counties. The statistics are for the years 1999 to 2001.

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