After the Amniocentesis Test

Amniocentesis is now a big part of antenatal care, allowing parents with a risk of passing down a serious genetic condition a chance to investigate whether or not their child actually has one of these potentially life long and seriously disabling conditions.

What you do with the results given after the results is completely up to you. If your test results come back confirming (as best they can) the health of your child then that is fantastic news, and you can go ahead with the rest of the pregnancy confident and comfortable in the health and safety of your future child. However if the test comes back with a positive result for one of the disorders tested, you and your partner will face a difficult decision. This article aims to provide you with some information to consider about your options, and as has been mentioned before, the ultimate decision is completely your own, and no party should pressure you into any course of action.

Your options in the event of a positive result

There are essentially two courses of action you have open to you if your amniocentesis test tells you that your unborn baby carries a genetic abnormality that will result in a condition like Down’s or Fragile X Syndrome. What you can do will vary according to the condition discovered, but generally speaking you have the option of either terminating the pregnancy or carrying on with it and making preparations for your child’s care.

If you decide to proceed with the pregnancy then there are often steps you can take prior to childbirth that can ensure that your baby, and yourself, receive the appropriate care. Your doctor will be able to advise on any particular provisions that can be made to ensure the health and safety of your child. Furthermore information about the condition and caring for it will be available.

If you decide to terminate the pregnancy then you can do so before the 24th week provided there is sufficient medical cause, and that two different doctors provide the legal approval required. This is a difficult decision to make, and as the next section of the article shows it’s not one that you need make alone as there is support available.

Support available to you

Support is available through the NHS in the form of your antenatal care team who are trained and experienced in dealing with this particular situation. They can provide impartial advice and information, and will understand to some extent what you are going through. Specialist genetic counsellors are also available who are specifically trained to provide support in this situation.

Similar support is available through a number of private sources as well, particularly in the area of specialist counselling. Private counselling can also often be arranged more conveniently depending on the provider.

Your friends and family can also be a huge source of welcome support at this time, although if you feel more comfortable keeping the matter to yourself then that is perfectly understandable, and the aforementioned support provided through the NHS and privately can make a huge difference.

It can’t be stressed enough that this decision should be yours, and if you feel that anyone at any stage is pressuring or bullying you into a particular course of action then you should consider filing a complaint or doing something else along those lines. While there is plenty of support available for you during this difficult time, it should be exactly that, support rather than pressure.

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