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Mother resists pressure to abort twin suspected of having Down syndrome

by | Nov 22, 2017

Mom says her son with Down syndrome is “my beautiful, happy and healthy boy”

By Dave Andrusko

Proud: Mother Manda Grover, 44, with her children Jessica and Jack, now two years old.
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

To the doctor with his views on children with Down syndrome, it probably seemed only natural to offer his apologies to Manda Grover. After all he and others (according to Manda) had repeatedly reminded her she could abort one or both of her twins who might have Down syndrome.

And sure enough, when a heel prick test confirmed that their son Jack had Down Syndrome, “the doctor actually apologized,” Manda told Daily Mail reporter Sally Windsor.

I couldn’t understand what for. I explained that we have two beautiful babies, both healthy that we’d waited six years to come into our lives. They were a miracle – no one should feel sorry about that.

Indeed, getting pregnant and carrying babies successfully to term was a tremendous struggle. Six years ago, a GP told Mrs. Windsor, then 38, that the reason the couple had struggled to conceive naturally was because her right Fallopian tube was blocked. (She had endometriosis.)

This couple from Horsham, West Sussex, England tried a round of fertility treatments which alas ended in a miscarriage. They decided to try again but that also failed. However, according to Windsor,

two embryos from the process were able to be frozen – in case the couple felt able to try one last time.

So imagine their joy when after deciding to implant the two embryos, she had a scan at five week and “It was confirmed. I was having twins.”

But when, because of her age, another scan was taken at twelve weeks for Down syndrome, Manda was told there was a “1 in 50 chance that both twins had Down’s syndrome.” Later the couple was told that the odds the girl had Down syndrome had dropped, but the odds that the second twin [who turned out to be Jack] had Down syndrome had in increased to one in eight.

“’I was 14 weeks pregnant and my mind was instantly made up,” she told Windsor. “Down’s syndrome or not – I was having my babies.”

As the pregnancy proceeded, the babies’ physical health was just fine. But at the 16 week mark

‘I was asked if I wanted to have an amniocentesis test which carries a 1 in 100 chance of miscarriage and if it came back with a positive result for Twin 2 having Down’s syndrome, I would be given the option to abort that baby.

‘I immediately declined, I had waited so long for my babies. The thought that I would be getting rid of one, or even risk losing both was just not an option.

‘At every scan after that – and I was given more than normal because of my age and the fact that I was having twins – I was asked about whether I was happy to continue with the pregnancy.

‘Needless to say, of course I was but the question became hurtful and tedious. Nothing had ever been confirmed 100 per cent that he had DS, but Richard and I had accepted that he did and started reading up on the syndrome

Jack and Jessica were born in October 2015. That’s when the doctor apologized after it was confirmed that Jack had Down syndrome.

It was just nine days later that the twins went home. “The babies were now being bottle-fed and were a dream to look after,” Mrs. Grover told the Daily Mail “We soon got in the swing of being a family of four and Richard was the most incredible dad from day one.”

Now two years old they have “fluffy blonde locks and matching cheeky smiles,” Windsor writes.

Manda tells her

‘Two babies that in my eyes are just as perfect as one another. Looking at Jack, it’s hard to believe that if I’d taken the advice of many people along the line, my beautiful, happy and healthy boy would not be here today, and the world would be a sadder place for it.

Categories: Down Syndrome