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Doctors Could Soon Cure Down's Syndrome -- But Should They?

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Doctors Could Soon Cure Down's Syndrome -- But Should They?

by Adriana Velez

babies downs syndromeWhat if doctors could "cure" Down's syndrome? It's a possibility that's just on the horizon. Imagine that you go in for a prenatal test and find out that your unborn baby will have Down's syndrome. Your OBGYN performs a procedure, maybe before birth, or maybe after, and presto -- no Down's syndrome after all. Your doctor could actually turn off Down's syndrome. What do you think?

Down's syndrome is caused by an extra copy of Chromosome 21. Researchers are working on manipulating genes to silence that extra chromosome and thus prevent the symptoms of Down's syndrome from appearing. This is something researchers are doing now and that doctors may be able to do in the future ... but should we?

This reminds me of that controversial bus ad suggesting we "wipe out autism." Are conditions like autism and Down's syndrome really something we want to wipe out -- or are they differences we should embrace? If we can stop people from having the symptoms of Down's syndrome, what other conditions will we start trying to erase?

Talk to any parent of a child with Down's syndrome and they will tell you about their struggles. I'm not saying it's a picnic for anyone. But they will also tell you about the joy that comes from sharing your life with a child with Down's syndrome. It's not a curse. It's much more complicated than that. There are particular things we learn and experience for having people who are different among us. They bring value to our world. 

I understand why researchers would want to prevent medical conditions and illnesses that make our lives difficult. But sometimes I have to wonder -- do we really need to change people with Down's syndrome, autism, etc., or do we need to change how we see them?

Do you think it's a good idea to try to "cure" Down's syndrome?

by on Jul. 19, 2013 at 9:12 AM
Replies (41-45):
by Anonymous 4 on Jul. 21, 2013 at 9:12 AM
1 mom liked this

"Well, sweetheart, we COULD have had the doctor cure your Down's before you were born, but we thought it would be better for you to experience difficulties for the sake of making sure the world is more diverse."

by Member on Jul. 21, 2013 at 10:38 AM

i agree with this. If any of my children were special needs and there was something I could do to give them a normal life, why wouldn't I want to?

Quoting jobseeker:

Big issue at stake.  On one hand as you mentioned these children often bring more joy to the families than the 'extra work' they require.  They are considered some of God's special angels.

On the other hand:

-How many children are aborted when the parents find out that they may have Downs?  How many lives might htis procedure save?  

-One of the worries that parents of special needs children have is what will happen to their children after the parents die.  These children don't usually outlive their parents, but one never knows.  If you take that worry away the chances of being able to give your children a normal functioning life and lifespan is a big consideration.

-While many adults with special needs can live independently the world does not always treat them so great.  There are never any guarantees when you bring a child home, but most parents want the best for their children.

In the end, we will never 'wipe out' children with special needs, but giving them a chance for a normal life is a good thing.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 24, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Yes if possible no one purposely wants a child with mental defects.

by on Jul. 24, 2013 at 12:51 AM

I think it is a good idea. This cure would save lives seeing as a lot of couples make the choice to abort when they find out their child might have down's.

by on Jul. 24, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Find a cure. Make it a choice. I don't care if it "changes MY child's personality" because for goodness sake, most people want their kid to get the most out of life that they can. 

Why would someone choose a disability for their child? If its fixable, fix it! Give the child a chance at a normal life!

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