There are a variety of reasons why a person might consider getting genetic testing done while pregnant.
It might be due to their age and concerns of Down syndrome or other disorders. It might be due to the fact that they are having multiples and are at higher risk of fetal complications due to their circumstances in that multiples pregnancy. Perhaps something came up on the ultrasound that leads the doctors to believe there may be a developmental problem with the fetus.
Whatever the reason, there may come a point where genetic testing is recommended so you can make an informed decision as to future plans with your child.
The question is, do you have that testing done?
Having testing done and the results that come of it will mean different things to different people. It may mean that one couple will choose to get the testing, and if that testing informs them that their child has a high risk of being born with a certain condition, they will decide not to continue their pregnancy. For another couple, they may use it to simply inform them of potential conditions so they might prepare properly for the special needs of their child. Regardless of the choice, it is just that, a choice.
In our case, we had a high-risk multiples pregnancy. Our twins were monoamniotic-monochorionic twins and they came with a lot of potential risks out the gate. There are couples who, from the onset, decide they cannot cope with the many, many unknowns of this type of twin pregnancy, and therefore choose to abort their children.Ã‚Â And while I could not imagine living one day without my two year old toddlers (who now drive me to the point of looney some days), I still believe it’s a personal choice that each family has to make.
Not everyone can cope with the 50-50 odds of making it through to viability. Not everyone can cope with the guaranteed preterm births and the potential for severe disabilities as a result of those preterm births. It is a personal choice and personal journey for each family.
Each person has the right to determine if they can handle a specific special needs scenario if they are informed of that situation in advance. When you are facing risk factors for things like spinabifida, Down syndrome or some other condition – it can be terribly frightening to look at a geneticist and tell them you’ll roll the dice as we did.
But, we couldn’t bare to know in advance if our twins had these conditions. We chose to live in blissful ignorance until their birth at 28 weeks and just let it be, because we were already faced with enough challenges and this was our personal journey.
That was our choice.
There is no right answer in this kind of situation – there is only your answer, the one that is right for you and your family. So ask yourself before you get genetic testing, will it change how you feel about your child? Will you make any decisions differently if you find out something is in fact wrong?
If you are the type of person who would like to prepare for any potential special needs – then arming yourself with the information that comes with genetic testing might be a good fit for you.
If testing will only lead to continuous worry (as it would have in my case and I was doing enough of that already), then it might be best to let it be what it’s going to be and worry about the outcome after your child arrives.
If Ã‚Â you are a person who knows they would not be able to cope with a severely disabled child and an ultrasound indicated you may be looking at that type of scenario, then perhaps you should make that leap and have additional testing done.
Whatever you decide, do it without listening to the judgement from others – it is ultimately your choice.
Image: Kristin Banks