Down’s syndrome test approved for NHS rollout, leaving campaigners ‘very disappointed’

A new technique for screening unborn babies for Down’s syndrome will be rolled out by the NHS, despite strong opposition.

The Government confirmed last weekend that Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) will be made available on the NHS from 2018.

Don’t Screen Us Out have led a campaign against NIPT and repeatedly argued that it is likely to lead to an increase in abortions of Down’s babies.


NIPT is a blood test that is claimed to be around 99 per cent accurate at predicting the likelihood of unborn children having Down’s syndrome.

Lynn Murray, speaking for Don’t Screen Us Out, said: “We are very disappointed that the Department of Health have approved the NIPT roll-out without consultation with the very group that this is going to have the biggest impact on, people with Down’s syndrome and their families.

Murray added that the rollout is projected to result “in an increase in the number of children with Down’s syndrome screened out”.

“We are also stunned by the unprofessional manner that the Department of Health have chosen to announce the news of the decision coming via comment to a Saturday newspaper rather than an official release,” she said.

This roll-out is projected to result in an increase in the number of children with Down’s syndrome screened out.
Lynn Murray, Don’t Screen Us Out

‘Utterly reject’

In September, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) was heavily criticised after it recommended undertaking cost/benefit analysis on the lives of people with the condition.

RCOG has since been accused by medical professionals of “advocating that women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome should end their pregnancy”.

279 medics signed a joint letter saying: “We utterly reject the implicit premise that the value of a human being is based on their economic contribution to society.”


Head of Communications at The Christian Institute Ciarán Kelly said NIPT “has its roots in the idea that some people’s lives have no value”.

“All human beings are made in the image of God and have a special, intrinsic, value regardless of how young, or how old, able bodied or disabled that life might be”.

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