Danish Study Shows almost 50% More Down’s Children Eugenically Aborted with New Screening Options

Mon Dec 1, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

COPENHAGEN, December 1, 2008 ( - Thanks to more aggressive guidelines for prenatal Down syndrome screening, the number of Down’s infants who survive the womb in Denmark has been reduced by almost half, according to a population-based cohort study published in the online British Medical Journal.

While 55 Down’s children were born in the country in 2000, the study found that number fell to 31 in 2005 and 32 in 2006.  

The number of Danish children prenatally diagnosed with the condition rose by 30% in the year after the new guidelines for prenatal screening and diagnosis were implemented by the Danish National Board of Health in 2004. 

The rigorous new guidelines include the offer of a combined test for Down syndrome (based on combination of maternal age, plus serum and nuchal screening) in the first trimester. This test gave women a risk assessment for Down syndrome at an early stage in the pregnancy. Women whose risk was higher than a defined cut off were referred for invasive diagnostic tests (chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis).

Approximately 84% of pregnant Danish women underwent the Down’s screening.

In the previous, less aggressive guidelines, screening for Down syndrome was recommended based on maternal age and a diagnostic test was mainly offered to women above 35 years. 

Other countries, including New Zealand, the UK and Australia are reported to be developing similar programs as that implemented in Denmark, but are struggling to reach consensus on screening policy and logistical challenges.

Already in many Western countries, up to 95% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are killed in utero for eugenic reasons.

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