Letter: Scan the options
Friday 12 March 1999
Unless there is a specific increase in risk of abnormality because of past history, tests in pregnancy are offered as screening for abnormalities. These tests should be explained as such and parents should not be offered, or accept, them as "routine".
Even an early scan to confirm the stage of a pregnancy should only be offered with the proviso that there is a chance of detecting signs which may be associated with foetal abnormalities, even though they are not performed for this reason before 16 weeks in most of the country.
Under these circumstances, parents have the opportunity to accept testing if they understand the implications and want to know the results. Parents seek reassurance of normality, which can never be assured. All screening tests imply a possible need for subsequent diagnostic investigations and perhaps intervention, even though most babies will be normal in the end. If parents do not wish to run the risk of finding potential signs of abnormality, then they need not accept testing.
Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food