Emotional reactions to the results
Counselling and making a decision
Discontinuing the pregnancy
The woman's physical recovery
Grieving the loss
In recent years, modern medicine has developed increasingly sophisticated tests to screen unborn babies for physical and genetic abnormalities. These amazing technological advances have provided information not previously accessible to past generations. However, their availability has also created agonising dilemmas for modern parents, especially if they are confronted with results that indicate their baby may not be perfectly healthy.
Genetic testing is always optional, but many parents want the tests performed, or request them. However, caregivers do not always fully explain what the tests are capable of revealing and the possible outcomes are not always clearly spelt out. These are covered in genetic tests.
One aspect that is not always comprehended by parents is that if the test results indicate the baby has an abnormality, there are usually no cures or treatments. Some physical defects (such as a cleft lip/palate) are treatable, but only once the baby is born. In most cases, the only options for parents are to:
- Continue with the pregnancy with the knowledge that their baby has a genetic disorder or abnormality, but possibly having the opportunity to prepare mentally, emotionally and practically for this.
- Terminate (or abort) the pregnancy.
Parents faced with these issues generally find any decision devastating beyond words. Trying to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy under these circumstances is overwhelming, amidst a flood of emotions.