160 Healthy Babies Lost for Every 50 Down’s Cases Detected with Amniocentesis
By Hilary White
LONDON, August 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The risks of amniocentesis to the unborn child have long been known but now a new analysis by a British doctor has shown that using the tests in seek-and-destroy missions for Down’s syndrome and other genetic abnormalities results in the deaths of hundreds of healthy babies every year in Britain.
Dr. Hylton Meire, the retired physician and author of texts on ultrasound, calculates that for every 50 children with Down’s Syndrome successfully identified and killed by abortion, 160 non-affected babies are lost by miscarriage after the test. His paper, published in the Journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society, mainly emphasizes that the non-invasive test, called the foetal ‘nuchal thickness’ measurement, is not as useful as is widely thought because of the high incidents of false positives it gives.
In obstetrics, it is now standard practice to offer pregnant women the non-invasive test that measures the fluid at the back of the child’s neck. Combined with the age of the mother, the test results in a number taken to indicate the possibility that the child has Down’s. If the number is high enough, the mother is offered an amniocentesis, a test in which a needle is inserted into the abdomen and a sample of amniotic fluid is drawn off and analyzed.
With about one in every 1000 children conceived having Down’s syndrome, and with amniocentesis carrying a one in 200 risk of miscarriage, Dr. Meire, wrote in the Journal Ultrasound that if all pregnant women took the amniocentesis test as many as 3,200 healthy babies could die by miscarriage every year.
There are about 30,000 amniocentesis tests done every year in the UK.
In North America, earlier this year, both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) has recommended that all pregnant women, not just those over 35, should be screened, including with amniocentesis.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
All Pregnant Women Should “Screen” for Down’s Syndrome – American and Canadian Ob Gyn Colleges