Tuesday, 16 February 2016 - 09:41
Dutch MPs want all pregnant women to access Down’s Syndrome test
A number of parliamentarians want the test to identify Down's Syndrome in unborn children to be accessible to all pregnant women, AD reports. The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) is a blood test which can determine if an unborn child ha Down's syndrome, Edward's syndrome or Patau syndrome. The test was banned in the Netherlands for a long time. For the past two years academic hospitals in the country have been running a trial on this test, but it is only available to certain women - if a so-called combination test involving a blood test and a nuchal translucency scan showed that the child may have Down's syndrome. Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health soon has to decide whether to keep the NIPT test available for this group of women, whether to ban it and rely solely on the combination test or whether to make it available for all women. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is discussing the test on Tuesday. Several parties want the test to be available to all women, including the PvdA, SP and VVD. "The NIPT-test is safer than amniocentesis. All women have a right to it", SP MP Henk van Gerven said, adding that no woman will make the decision to abort a child with Down's syndrome lightly. Opponents fear that making the test available will lead to a Down's syndrome-free society. Currently about 245 children with the chromosomal abnormality are born in the Netherlands each year. Concerned parents of children with Down's syndrome will be presenting their case to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday. According to them, the social pressure to get rid of a child with abnormalities is already huge, the widespread implementation of the NIPT test will make it worse.