More People With Down Syndrome Are Being Born, Achieving More and Living Longer Than Ever Before



    PORTSMOUTH, England, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - A new analysis shows that many more
babies are being born with Down syndrome today than 15 years ago in England,
despite universally available genetic screening. More people are living with
Down syndrome today than ever before. They are achieving more and living
longer and richer lives, questioning the ethics of screening. Screening also
poses risks to babies who do not have Down syndrome. This new analysis
estimates that screening leads to the deaths of 400 babies who do not have
Down syndrome annually in England and Wales alone.
    More babies are being born each year. "It is often assumed that fewer
babies are now born with Down syndrome. This is not true - births of babies
with Down syndrome have risen 25% in 15 years in England. At the same time,
life expectancy and quality of life continue to improve," says Frank Buckley,
the charity's Chief Executive and co-author of the report. "More people are
living with Down syndrome than ever before with over 600,000 across Europe and
North America and maybe 4 million worldwide. There is still much more to do,
but people with Down syndrome are achieving more thanks to better healthcare,
better opportunities and more effective teaching approaches."
    Although quality of life continues to improve for people with Down
syndrome, government policy requires that genetic screening is offered to all
pregnant women, posing risks to up to 700,000 pregnancies each year. Around
95% of all 'positive' screening results are wrong. Women who receive these
results are encouraged to consider invasive tests. Between 1 in 100 and 1 in
50 pregnancies tested in this way are miscarried as a result of the tests.
    Down Syndrome Education International is calling for further research and
better support for people living with Down syndrome. The charity is also
calling for reviews of screening policies and wider debate about the
acceptability of genetic screening for mental and physical abilities during
pregnancy.

    About the report

    Wrongful deaths and rightful lives - screening for Down syndrome by Frank
Buckley and Sue Buckley will be published in Down Syndrome Research and
Practice and online at Down Syndrome Online on 17 September 2008 at:
http://www.down-syndrome.org/editorials/2087/

    
    Further information

    http://www.downsed.org/media/releases/2008/09/

    Down Syndrome Education International
    

    Down Syndrome Education International works to improve education for
young people with Down syndrome through scientific research and evidence-based
information and support services. The charity works with families, teachers
and therapists, researchers and support organisations in over 170 countries.
Down Syndrome Education International's work helps over 100,000 people with
Down syndrome to achieve more every year.

    Web site: http://www.downsed.org/





For further information:

For further information: Frank Buckley, Chief Executive, Down Syndrome
Education International, Email: frank.buckley@downsed.org, Office: +44
(0)23-9289-3889

Organization Profile

DOWN SYNDROME EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL

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