Advances in prenatal testing have resulted in more women than ever before being tested for atypical chromosomes and other conditions, sometimes without the women’s full knowledge of the testing process and its implications. In this brief guide, parenting expert Amy Julia Becker walks potential mothers through some questions to ask before they offer their consent for testing:
- What is prenatal testing? What can it tell me?
- What information do I want, and why?
- What would I decide to do if prenatal testing led to a prenatal diagnosis?
Sensible and reassuring, this book should be on the e-nightstand of every woman who is or wishes to become pregnant.
Praise and Reviews
This book should be required reading for all prospective parents. Much more than a scholarly report, it provides a clear, nonjudgmental, and up-to-date guide to prenatal testing. The book is born of Amy Julia Becker’s evolving thoughts on the subject after she became the mother of a child with Down syndrome. Her measured presentation of the particulars and ethics of prenatal testing, coupled with her reflections on the unanticipated relational and spiritual gifts of human limitations, make for an engaging and thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.
— Jennifer Grant, author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter and MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family
Prenatal diagnosis is on the threshold of a paradigm shift that will leave invasive tests such as amniocentesis as relics of the past and force each and every mother-to-be, regardless of her age, to ponder the ethical question of the moral status of the embryo implanted in her body. Using that rare ingredient, common sense, and adding her firsthand experience of conceiving and raising a child with Down Syndrome, Amy Julia Becker puts the science and ethics of prenatal diagnosis into a practical and wise narrative that I wish every couple could read before having their blood drawn to determine the karyotype of their offspring.
John M. Thorp, Jr., MD,
This book is essential reading for any couple grappling with the vast array of tests that women are given, usually as a matter of course and with little discussion, when they are pregnant. Amy Julia Becker manages to simultaneously present her own strong point of view and present the facts and options in a nonjudgmental way. She approaches the topic by focusing on the practical end – what would a woman do with the knowledge she gains from prenatal tests? -which forces readers to think about what their own decisions might be and what the unique medical and moral issues of that course of action may be.
~Michael Kress, Executive Editor of Parents.com, the website for Parents, American Baby, and FamilyFun magazines
What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing is a much-needed resource, particularly at this cultural moment when more prenatal tests are becoming available. Becker speaks directly to pregnant women about what prenatal testing means and how women can make informed, ethical decisions. She provides information that a woman’s medical professionals often will not offer. This book doesn’t suggest that there’s one “right answer” for everyone. Instead, Becker discusses the range of options available – from not having testing at all to terminating a pregnancy – and acknowledges that each woman must make her own choice. She shares stories from her own pregnancies and discusses life with her children, one of whom has Down syndrome. This book is respectful, informative, and empowering. I highly recommend it.
~Alison Piepmeier, Director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, The College of Charleston
When I carried my children I had very little working knowledge about the medical and ethical implications of the routine testing to which I was agreeing and that which I was rejecting. I suspect I am not alone in this! Today, I wish I’d had access to this resource, from such a trusted source as Becker, as a guide through a sometimes-confusing journey. Clearly written, it is a gift to every parent who wants to make informed decisions for themselves and for their children. Thank you, Amy Julia Becker.
~Margot Starbuck, author of Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor