Guest Column

Diagnosing Down syndrome: Why doctors are doing it wrong

(Save The Storks) According to a 2022 study with Harvard Medical School, about 1 in every 800 babies will be diagnosed with Down syndrome. Still, there is negativity and misinformation when it comes to diagnosing Down syndrome. Sadly, advice from healthcare professionals can push parents to abort their child.

When doctors offer abortion as an option upon the diagnosis, they present parents with a question. Is this child’s life worth living? It’s a question no parent should be asked.

Doctors need proper training on diagnosing Down syndrome to parents without applying their own bias upon delivery.

The Role of Bias in Prenatal Diagnosis

When doctors deliver a diagnosis, they are painting a picture of the child’s future for parents. If they only present the challenges and not the potential, it’s an incomplete portrayal. A lack of information can be just as misleading as misinformation.

A study published in the Disability and Health Journal found providers were more likely to discuss health issues and reproductive options than the resources available to parents. Less than 40% discussed support services and life outcomes.

Medical professionals demonstrated explicit bias by discussing incorrect or outdated information when diagnosing Down syndrome not based on medical research. This medical bias is eerily reminiscent of Planned Parenthood misleading or pressuring women into choosing abortion. We believe every parent deserves the truth, compassion, and unbiased support to make informed decisions.

The Impact of Misinformation

In a study by The Human Development Institute, surveyed parents said 61% of obstetric providers apologized or presented the Down syndrome diagnosis as bad news.

In the same study, one parent described their experience in 2018, “My maternal-fetal medicine doctor was much more harsh. He said ‘I’m sorry’ several times and immediately went into all the potential health issues we would need to consider if we really intended to continue with the pregnancy.”

Everyone will face challenges in life. This is a guarantee. With Down syndrome, the only difference is we know from the start what some of these challenges will be. But should these challenges determine the value of a life? Absolutely not. Assigning value to a baby based on the difficulties they might face is an underlying theme in the pro-abortion movement…


The Disability and Health Journal concluded that doctors need more training on disability cultural competency and how to deliver prenatal testing results without implicit or explicit bias. Evidently, too many doctors present the report with information on challenges the parents need to be wary of rather than giving updated information, like how the Down syndrome community is living longer and healthier lives than ever with new medical advancements.

According to an article in Prenatal Diagnosis, 60 to 90 percent of children with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S.

Read the entire article at Save the Storks.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Save the Storks and is reprinted here with permission.

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