It seems like fertility treatments are becoming more and more common. While they used to be an avenue of last resort, now it seems like people who don’t conceive immediately turn to fertility specialists. Since some fertility treatments can result in multiple embryos, parents are now faced with choosing between them. It makes sense that they would choose the most likely to survive, but they’re being faced with other choices as well, such as the decision whether or not to bring to term a fetus with Down syndrome. I know raising a child with special needs must be a very hard road, but the people I’ve known who traveled that road say they wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Luckily, my baby-making years are behind me. I’m very grateful that I will never have to face the decision of whether or not to carry to term a special-needs baby, because I honestly don’t know whether I’d have the courage to go forward. If I knew my child wasn’t going to face pain or years of surgeries or a compromised quality of life due to profound physical issues, I think I would probably decide to have the child, but unless I were faced with an actual (rather than a theoretical) decision of that nature, I don’t know for sure how I would react. I don’t envy the generations that have to make those hard choices.
It occurs to me that maybe if some of these detectable (but untreatable) conditions are demystified, prospective parents can at least be better informed. Enter A&E’s new documentary series, “Born This Way.” The series follows six young friends who all have some version of Down Syndrome. I have only watched the first two episodes (available here), but I’m already hooked.
I remember watching the TV series “Life Goes On” and falling completely in (non-romantic) love with Corky. The character was beautifully played by Chris Burke, known as the first primetime star with Down Syndrome, and I think he made great strides toward helping the general public understand this disability.
Icelandic photographer Sigga Ella is doing her part, too, with her photo project “First and foremost I am,” comprised of 21 very sweet portraits of people with Down Syndrome. (Please try and ignore the backdrop.)