Jan 28, 2015
Today’s guest post is contributed by Amylynn Warners.
Today, prenatal testing is common. Most of the time, the tests indicate all is well for mother and child, and the impending birth of a new life is cause for celebration. Some mothers, however, consider abortion if they learn their child has been diagnosed with a condition or disorder that will present difficult challenges or, in some cases, shorten the child’s life. What they might not know is that testing can produce false positive results.
I experienced how frightening prenatal testing results can be in my own life. An ultrasound indicated that my baby had all the markers for Trisomy 181, an extra 18th chromosome genetic disorder. Babies with Trisomy 18 most likely won't survive birth and children who are born with this condition usually die within weeks or months of being born. The additional chromosome contributes to intellectual and physical disabilities and heart defects. I was offered an early termination procedure based on the evidence of genetic markers of Trisomy 18, as revealed during my 20 week ultrasound. I was told that they held a time for me that day for the procedure. I refused. For weeks, I anguished over this news and finally decided to have further testing done from amniotic fluid. Amniocentesis indicated that the initial diagnosis was wrong, but repeated ultrasounds continued to indicate that my baby had other physical deformities. Trusting, God would help me, I prepared myself the best I could with friends and family who supported me. When my sweet daughter was born, she was perfect. If I had aborted her, she and I would have both missed her beautiful life.
Stacie Chapman was another mother who experienced a jolting diagnosis she did not expect—and she almost made a decision to abort—a decision she is so grateful today that she did not make. She was three months pregnant when her doctor let her know her baby boy tested positive for Edwards syndrome, which is known to produce severe birth defects. With this condition, her son would not survive long. Stacie and her husband decided on an immediate abortion when her doctor told her the test detected this condition 99 percent of the time, but the doctor, despite assurances from the makers of the test that it could be relied on, urged additional testing to confirm the results. The second test showed the baby did not have Edwards syndrome. Stacie was and is, of course, amazed that she almost aborted her child with incorrect information.
My personal experience has made me more aware that expectant parents know prenatal testing results cannot always be relied upon. Every life is precious, and it is alarming how false positives and genetic markers of chromosomal disorders/syndromes can contribute to decisions to abort.2, 3 I encourage our expecting mothers and waiting families to seek out resources and agencies, like Bethany Christian Services, to help as them as they face difficult decisions as a result of prenatal testing or crisis pregnancy.
Most of all, we want everyone we serve to know God can make a way for every life, no matter the challenges. Every baby deserves a chance to live and thrive.
1. Trisomy 18 is also commonly referred to as Edwards syndrome
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