The BBC documentary a World Without Down’s Syndrome?, which screened on Tuesday night on TVNZ, gave the country an insight into the challenges that the community of people with Down syndrome and their families face with the introduction of new cfDNA tests. These are projected to lead to a further increase in the number of children with Down syndrome “screened out” by termination.
The documentary was fronted by Bridget Jones star Sally Phillips, who introduced us to her son Olly who has Down syndrome, and her journey as she grappled with the introduction of the new tests.
As a father of a daughter with Down syndrome, the most poignant segment of the programme for me was when Sally visited Iceland, where 100 per cent of families who are given a positive diagnosis now terminate.
It is profoundly difficult to hear of the impact that these tests will have on the number of children who are born with Down syndrome, and to think of the repercussions that this will have on the way that my daughter and her peers are viewed by society.