Choose to Know: Down Syndrome Testing

What are your thoughts about this? I personally always decline the tests because if my baby were to be down syndrome, I would keep her/him. But I had never thought about getting the tests so I could get better care lined up etc. Very interesting article!


by Tatum Spirill | Staff Writer for The Snap Mom

Tatum 3As a newer mom of a child with Down Syndrome, I am blessed to have connected with other parents on Facebook that are on the same journey. I get so much support from everyone in general, but these people really understand. While I know everyone’s main goal is to encourage and build each other up, I can’t help but notice that some people can come off as though they are judging without meaning it. The biggest topic is Prenatal Screening: yes or no. I am ‘pro-testing’, but I do not judge anyone who decides against it. I can only tell my story, and why it is beneficial to have the test done.

When I was around 3 months pregnant, I was a little dehydrated and sent to the hospital for fluids. They handed me papers to sign from my OB/GYN consenting for blood work. Without even reading what I was consenting to, I signed the papers. Smart, right? A week later, I got the call that my blood showed that the baby tested positive for Down Syndrome. I was sent to a high risk doctor. By looking at the sonogram, she confirmed the diagnosis from the physical ‘markers,’ but she still asked if I wanted further testing. This is the year 2014, and surprisingly a lot of people don’t know that you can test without doing amniocentesis. I’ve heard that it is painful. I know it carries a small risk, but it is not your only option. There are two other tests: Harmony 21 and Maternity 21. Both are just blood work. Before you start: no, they are not 100% accurate like the amniocentesis! They are 99.5% accurate which is pretty damn close. I chose the Maternity 21, and it took about two weeks to get my results: positive.

My local hospital has a bad reputation for not being great. Since I knew my son’s diagnosis, I was now permanently in the hands of a high risk doctor and would deliver at an amazing hospital with a wonderful track record. When I went into labor on my own, I went to my local hospital and was flown two hours away to the hospital I had chosen. My son wasn’t handling labor well, and with every contraction his heart rate would drop. Within an hour of landing, I was in the OR, and my son was born via C-section. He didn’t have much color, and he never cried. The NICU team was ready for him and whisked him out of there immediately. He was put on high flow oxygen and had to eat through a tube in his nose. He had two surgeries by the time he was two months old. He was in the hospital for a total of three months. I can’t help but think back and wonder if I had not found out and delivered at my local hospital, would he have made it?

It’s unsettling to think about. I hear a lot of women say that they don’t want testing because “they would love their baby either way.” This feels like a punch in the gut to me. I know they don’t mean any harm, but it still hurts me. Do they think I didn’t love my baby because I wanted to know for sure?

Why we chose to do the test:

  • We could prepare for all of the potential health problems.
  • We could educate ourselves on Down Syndrome.
  • We could choose the best care providers.

If I had to do it again, I would because I truly believe that the testing saved my son’s life. Why risk losing something so precious?

Now before anyone gets angry and I get hate mail, I would like to say again that I do not judge anyone who chooses not to do the testing. There is not a right or wrong answer here. We only have a difference of experiences and opinions.


Tatum is a wife and mother who lives in a small town in Texas. She is blessed to be a stay at home mom and to feed her passion for spreading Down Syndrome Awareness through writing.

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