There are about 35,000 people living with Down Syndrome in Canada. As a diverse nation, we claim to include people of all cultures, ethnicities, and intellectual and physical abilities.
But the data we see from prenatal screening and diagnosis outcomes don’t seem to reflect this. According to research conducted by Dr. Brain Skotko, an estimated 92% of women in the US who are prenatally diagnosed with a fetus with Down Syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy. Between 1989 – 2005, there was a 49% decrease between the expected and observed rates of infants born with Down Syndrome.
Why is this so? Is it based on underlying societal judgments and expectations, telling us what type of people we should value? Or is it simply due to insufficient information and resources provided to parents at the time of decision-making? These trends not only affect those already living with Down Syndrome, but have implications for the future of our ‘diverse’ Canadian society.
On this show, we discuss important aspects of prenatal screening and diagnosis with Dr. Ashleigh Molloy, the President of the Down Syndrome Association of Toronto. His promotion of inclusion and human value are important messages that should be heard by all.