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Should you have the prenatal screening test for trisomy 21?

This is a personal decision. Some pregnant women and couples have the prenatal screening test while others do not.

Information for pregnant women and couples who are having trouble deciding whether or not to have the prenatal screening test

You may have trouble deciding whether or not to have the screening test. You can discuss the decision with your spouse, your family and friends, the health professional monitoring your pregnancy, a specialist in genetics, or groups of parents of children with trisomy 21. Here are a few questions that can help you decide what is best for you:

Would you like to know your probability of having a baby with trisomy 21 during your pregnancy?

Some people prefer to have the screening test

  • To better prepare themselves for the arrival of a child with special needs
  • Because they would consider the possibility of terminating the pregnancy if the baby has trisomy 21

Some people prefer not to have the screening test

  • Because they would not consider the option of terminating the pregnancy.
  • Because they want to avoid the stress and anxiety that may be associated with the screening process

What effect do you think the result of the screening test would have on your emotions during your pregnancy?

What effect would a low risk result have?
What effect would a high risk result have?

  • If the result of the screening test indicates a high risk, you must decide whether you want to have the diagnostic test (amniocentesis with an analysis of the baby’s chromosomes) or not. This test will determine with certainty whether or not the baby has trisomy 21. However, there is a risk of miscarriage.

Would you be ready to have the diagnostic test despite the risk of miscarriage?

If the result of the diagnostic test indicates that your baby has trisomy 21, you will have to decide whether to continue your pregnancy or terminate it. What would you do?