May 3, 2009
Sequenom-Prenatal Down syndrome testing
There is a new non-invasive prenatal test that promised to detect Down syndrome with just a blood test of the pregnant mother with 100% accuracy. At the AIA conference back in March, the new test by Sequenom was discussed at length--its cost and impact to families and society. I have been awaiting the news of higher and higher termination rates of fetuses with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
But now, ta-daa! We get respite from the onslaught. Last week Sequenom revealed that the release of the new test was going to be delayed due to mishandling of research and test data and results. There is a new lawsuit against Sequenom. It's a class action suit for investors of Sequenom who believe that stock prices were inflated from the inaccurate research.
Financial fraud? We'll see. But I am relieved that there are many growing babies that are going to get to live because of the delay of the test. There are no statistics of how many pregnanies are terminated because of a prenatal screening or diagnosis. It is estimated that between 80-90% of all those receiving a prenatal diagnosis do choose to abort.
7-29-09 Addendum: I see that I've been getting lots of hits to this post since someone listed me as a person who hopes Sequenom to fail. Actually, that is not necessarily true. I am not opposed to prenatal testing. I am actually pretty neutral on abortion. For me, this issue is not a pro-life or pro-choice issue. The issue is that the parents who are receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are not getting adequate and current information on which they can base their decision to continue the pregnancy, or terminate. The medical community spends time and money on convincing people that having a child with Down syndrome will lead to misery and does not give a true balanced representation of what life is like with a child with a disability. Parents who have correct information about Down syndrome can better make the decision that is best for their family.
While some may look at Sequenom as a financial investment, I look at it as another hurdle for individuals with Down syndrome to overcome.
For more information on a Prenatal Diagnosis of Down syndrome, please read my post here.