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Down's births rise despite tests

The number of babies being born with Down's syndrome has risen despite the introduction of prenatal screening for the disorder.

Research has shown that parents appear more willing to bring a Down's child into the world than in the past.

Many are taking the decision because those affected are more accepted in society and their quality of life has improved, a survey by the Down's Syndrome Association and the BBC revealed.

After the introduction of screening for Down's in 1989, the number of babies born with the condition in the UK each year fell from 717 to 594 at the start of this decade. Since 2000, the birth rate has risen, reaching 749 in 2006.

The proportion of newborn children with Down's rose by around 15% between 2000 and 2006, according to figures from the National Down's Syndrome Cytogenetic Register.

Around one in every 1,000 babies born has Down's, an incurable genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome.

Its physical effects include a characteristic "flat" face and slanting eyes, short stature, heart defects, and poor sight and hearing. People with Down's also have moderate to severe degrees of learning disability.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Down's Syndrome Association

Do you agree that more babies are being born with Down's because they are more accepted in society?
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"Yes, but I also think that via the internet, etc, parents now have access to information. They are less willing to accept without questioning what the medical profession tell them and doing their own research can remove fear of the unknown and show them just what a child with Down's Syndrome can achieve and what they can bring to a family." - Penny, Bedfordshire