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Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Does a woman's right to choose lead to the discrimination of the disabled? (Part II)

What is it about children with special needs that's so awful that women are opting for such drastic and permanent measures?

My hypothesis is two-fold -- the historically inaccurate and undeserving stigma attached to those with Down syndrome and our insatiable appetite for perfection in every aspect of our lives is to blame. Abortion is just the means to an end.

My husband and I chose not to have the prenatal amniocentesis, a procedure used to accurately detect chromosomal abnormalities and gender. We accepted our child from the moment of conception. But, are other women who make a different choice discriminating against the disabled or just exercising their right to choose? That's for you to decide. Regardless of the answer, the latest research is promising and has the potential to change the face of Down syndrome.

A team of Harvard University scientists have created a new technique that generates “pluripotent cells” - the procedure utilizes stem cells from the skin and bone marrow and turns them into stem cells (pluripotent cells until now were only found in embryos) in an attempt to reprogram the cells to act like embryonic cells, which will allow doctors to find new treatments and slow the progression of the 10 incurable medical conditions including Down syndrome.

The scientists aren’t claiming that creation of these cells is to genetically correct them and then reintroduce them to the body but they’re also not denying that one day that’s where the research is heading. Mick Bhatia of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in Hamilton, Ontario said, “the beauty would be that you’re taking the persons own cell, so if you correct it at a genetic level, by putting it back in, those cells won’t be rejected.”

As a mother of a son with Ds – I’m looking forward to the potential this research and others happening around the world will bring. But, that’s another post - for another day.

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In so many ways, the struggles with Down syndrome are like other medical battles – fought with an outward smile and an inner strength many can’t comprehend. There is also an inner turmoil that silently drives you to learn everything. For me, it’s an unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that knows no boundaries when it comes to my son.

Tomorrow -- The Kennedy/Brownback bill - the turning point for Down syndrome and the medical community.

5 comments:

John and Michelle said...

Hey Kandi here is the blog that we were discussing earlier. http://chadclem.com/

waldenhouse said...

Kandi, your last paragraph is so perfectly stated. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

In answer to the question you left me about the comment section. . . I have no idea! :) Sadly, my skills are very basic when it comes to this blogging stuff but I thought that blogspot was simply set up to "remember" returning folks. If I did something to set it up that way I don't know what it is. Sorry to be of absolutely no help!

blessingsandglory said...

Kandi - Thanks for tackling this difficult issue. I know that before we had Charlie, we were unaware of what is happening world-wide to the Down syndrome population. It is sad and frightening to see the result of increased prenatal testing and our societies quest for perfection - even with our children.

I truly believe that by simply sharing our stories with the world we can help to change some of the common mis-perceptions that others have about Down syndrome. To help others to simply see our children for who they are - beautiful children with unique and charming personalities - rather than a diagnosis. To show that there is value in life - each and every life.

Carol said...

Thanks for the interesting and informative blog posts. I've learned a lot about Ds and disabilities in general and love your insightful and fresh take on these issues.

Miriam said...

"As a mother of a son with Ds – I’m looking forward to the potential this research and others happening around the world will bring. But, that’s another post - for another day."

I look forward to reading more of your posts about research. This is an interest of mine as well. I agree with you that the latest research has the potential to change the face of DS. I've decided that I need to subscribe to your blog feed.