Back in April I reported on the latest statistics on Down’s syndrome births in England and Wales from the UK’s National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register, noting that I hadn’t seen any reporting of the latest statistics in the mainstream press.
Six months, and an article in the British Medical Journal, later and Down’s syndrome stories are in all today’s newspapers. As Simon Barnes notes, “it seems that we are in the middle of a veritable plague of Down’s syndrome”.
I haven’t read all of these, obviously, but those that I have read offer little beyond the statistics that have been generally available for six months. Congratulations, I suppose, to the Queen Mary college press team for getting the stats reported.
UPDATE – I have now read them all. Some interesting points from The Times story:
“Researchers found that the proportion of cases diagnosed antenatally in women under 37 has risen over the time period, from 3 per cent to 43 per cent. However, among older women, a consistent 70 per cent of affected pregnancies were diagnosed antenatally.”
“Professor Morris added that further research was at risk because funding for the national register, provided by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, was guaranteed only until March 2010.”
“One woman, who chose to have a termination after a Down’s diagnosis, said: “Everybody says they know what they’d do in that situation. But you don’t. You never know until it happens to you.””
The last one, written by the aforementioned Simon Barnes is a really concise, well-written commentary:
“My second child, Eddie, 8, has Down’s syndrome and, you know, it’s not that much of a big deal. It’s remarkably like being a parent, as a matter of fact. All you need is unconditional love,” he writes… He’s a valid, viable, useful and cherished member of his society: why on earth should he be anything else?”