‘Our best decision was to keep our Down’s son’

As the number of Down’s syndrome births increases, one family explains why they are so glad they didn’t abort their son despite knowing he would have the condition.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Louise Adkins says she and her husband never considered ending the pregnancy when Down’s syndrome was diagnosed.

She says “I looked at my [other] two sons and asked myself, what would I feel if one of them had a terrible accident and lost some of their potential?

“I wouldn’t accept them any less, love them any less. My husband was very positive, which helped.”

The Adkins describe how their youngest son Ben has been able to attend mainstream school part-time and is accepted by his peers despite his Down’s syndrome.

The family has received support from the Down’s Syndrome Association, who put them in touch with other families with Down’s syndrome children.

Louise says that while activities like going to the cinema or holidaying with Ben are difficult, these are “minor issues”.

She says they are “worth it because we have Ben, and we have experienced so many wonderful things thanks to him”.

The interview follows news that Down’s syndrome births are up 15 per cent despite the availability of tests to detect the condition.

Experts were surprised by the findings, having expected the number of parents opting to keep a Down’s syndrome baby to fall with the availability of testing. In Britain it is legal to abort a Down’s syndrome baby right up until birth.

In a survey of parents with Down’s syndrome children, a third put their decision to keep their child down to pro-life or religious beliefs.

Another third said it was because life is much better for people with the condition now.

Mrs Adkins says that although she worried about how the family would cope, the “expectations I had were definitely much worse than the reality.”

“Down’s syndrome is not what people plan and it is certainly not what anybody expects,” she says, “but I can say, hand on my heart, that it is absolutely not the end of the world.”

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