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CVS: Six Months of Worry Free Pregnancy!

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Teresa Strasser: I don't want to say I got the hard sell on having a CVS test, but when I went to my mandatory pre-test genetic counseling session, it felt a little like being on a used car lot on the last day of the month taking a recession test drive with a salesman one vehicle short of his quota.

Woman with dna strand behind her

In essence, he was asking, "What's it going to take to get you into these stirrups?" And he wasn't going to let us walk without closing.

I'm sure the information was medically sound, responsible, factual, bla, bla, bla, but this is pretty much how I heard it.

Mrs. Strasser, this CVS is top of the line. It's the Cadillac of invasive prenatal diagnostic tests, and we give you a lifetime no chromosomal defects guarantee!

On the other hand, if you like "uncertainty," perhaps this test isn't for you. I guess you don't mind the idea of visiting your child in an institution because it's severely impaired and you just didn't feel like getting the CVS. I guess you are one of those people who don't mind Fragile X Syndrome or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Look, the CVS test is not for everyone, just customers who appreciate our 99 percent accuracy rate in diagnosing chromosomal abnormalities.

We offer easy financing through your insurance company.

But really, how can you put a price on peace of mind? Our model of CVS practitioner, Dr. Everyone Goes to Him, is the best on the market. Best safety record around. Again, like I said, some folks don't care about safety, and if that's you, I guess the CVS isn't an investment worth making right now.

Let me show you some of the other CVS features.

We can test for several hundred genetic disorders. Tay-Sachs Disease? Cystic fibrosis? We got you covered. Did you say you were Ashkenazi? Yikes, that's bad. What? Nothing.

The first trimester screening test you already had, that nice little sonogram and blood screen combo, that's cute and all, but if you want a real test, that's a waste of your time. Sure, that checks for a few mutations, but this is the bad boy. We check all 23 chromosomes. Order now, and we'll even throw in free gender identification.

You can think about it, but at 12 weeks, you don't have much time. Dr. Everyone Goes to Him books up and your window for this test shuts at 13 weeks. No pressure. You can have an amniocentesis at 15 weeks if you like. Up to you. I sure wouldn't want to run into any defects that late in the game.

Sold.



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20 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sandy April 18, 2009, 9:12 AM

I guess there really is one born every minute.

C. April 18, 2009, 1:06 PM

Are a lot of women being pushed into getting the CVS? That sure wasn’t my experience.

Sara April 18, 2009, 1:11 PM

I don’t even recall much of a discussion about it during my pregnancies. I’m sure it was brought up, but I sure don’t remember it!

R. April 18, 2009, 1:37 PM

As a mom who lost her son at 5 months to spinal muscular atrophy, I wish we had been offered this test; maybe we were, but not pushed about it. I was just happy that the first trimester screening came back good; little did I know that would be the least of my worries.

Rachel April 18, 2009, 5:41 PM

We were offered, but not pushed. And we opted not to do it. I wouldn’t have done anything with the information anyways…I wouldn’t have been able to kill my baby just because it may or may not have had a disease. I’ve known too many parents to get grim results from the test only to give birth to a perfectly normal baby. Why can’t every baby have a chance to live? It seems a bit like Hitler trying to make the “perfect race” to me. Do these children who may be born “abnormal” have nothing to offer?! It’s horrible!

Yikes April 18, 2009, 8:02 PM

It’s great, Rachel, that you’ve never had to face a terminal prenatal diagnosis. I’m glad you’ve not walked in my shoes, or in the shoes of “R” who lost her son. You think any mother out there is being like Hitler? You think my “abnormal” daughter should have been born at term so she could “offer” something? We have a different perspective what makes something horrible.

Beenthere April 18, 2009, 8:14 PM

It’s not about what the child can offer to his/her parents—how selfish!! It’s about what we as parents can offer to our child. And sometimes, the best thing we can offer is a chance to be set free from suffering or pain.

Pamala April 18, 2009, 10:25 PM

With my next pregnancy we’re doing this only because there is a 50/50 chance that the child will have what my daughter has since I have the dominate mutation myself. The only reason for doing this is to be prepared for what needs to be done at birth (IV’s and medication right away) so that the baby doesn’t have seizures and get brain damage. That’s the only reason we’ll be doing it. I’d never terminate a pregnancy and I know I can handle a child with the disorder since I do it now. I wouldn’t mind having 6 months of preparation though plus we’d also know that the baby would probably come a bit early as well.

Ayliea April 19, 2009, 9:18 AM

I’ve been there - done that. We went to have the CVS done - I wasn’t “pushed” to do it, but was given the choice. Knowing that my “advanced maternal age” could be an issue, we wanted to know if there was going to be a problem with our baby; and there was. She had heart and digestive defects in addition to a genetic abnormality. We DID chose to end the pregnancy, rather than force our daughter to go through several surgeries, and still not know if she would live through them. Sometimes knowing is what’s in store gives you the chance to prepare, or make the most difficult decision a parent is ever faced with. Knowledge only means that you are prepared - you as an individual make the choice in how to USE that knowledge. Knowledge is a tool - it’s how you use the tool that matters. We chose love and compassion instead of uncertainty and suffering.

Kate April 19, 2009, 12:26 PM

I guess it’s easy to judge a person when you’ve never been in their shoes. Getting a poor prenatal diagnosis can be devastating. It’s never an easy decision to end a pregnancy and say goodbye to your baby. CVS isn’t pushed in my local area. It is a choice just like all testing is a choice. No one ever thinks getting bad news will happen but sometimes is does. There are families who will not choose to end a pregnancy after getting bad results and having testing done can help them plan and prepare for their baby better.

Dani April 19, 2009, 3:54 PM

“In essence, he was asking, “What’s it going to take to get you into these stirrups?” And he wasn’t going to let us walk without closing.”

CVS is not done while in stirrups. Apparently his big “push” left that bit out.

K April 19, 2009, 7:24 PM

My husband & I are carriers of a rare disorder & we also have a child that sadly has the disorder. With each pregnancy I have a 25% chance of having a baby fully affected. Therefore, I am very grateful that this testing (CVS) was an option for us.

There was & is no way I could ever willingly bring a child into this world to go thru what our 1st child had & still is going thru.

Sadly, we have made the choice twice to end a pregancy. We chose to let our babies go. It had nothing to do with what they had or didnt have to offer us. CVS allowed us to choose what we felt was best for our baby, our family.

Oh & yes, if you have a CVS done via the cervix, YOU WILL BE IN STIRRUPS. It depends if you are having it done via the cervix or the abdomen. I have had a CVS 3 times over the years & each time I was in stirrups.


Also Beenthere April 19, 2009, 7:41 PM

My sonos and quad screen missed the genetic mutation. It wasn’t until a level 2 ultrasound at 17 weeks that they found massive heart defects which prompted an amnio. The results (a gut wrenching 2 weeks later!) revealed the genetic mutation which took the possibility of a heart transplant off the table. I had a choice between letting my child suffer or compassionately ending the pregnancy at 20 weeks. I chose the latter. In my next pregnancy I insisted on the CVS, and traveled 200 miles to get one.

JSN April 20, 2009, 8:08 AM

My first daughter had Trisomy 13. We found out at our 18 week u/s. She was missing part of her brain and had no stomach and solid kidneys. We confirmed the diagnosis via amnio, but boy do I wish we had known sooner. We weren’t even offered the first trimester screening, let alone CVS. I don’t see where this is being pushed. Even in my 3 sub-pregnancies CVS was not pushed. And yes, we did end that pregnancy, which was our first. You say choose life. What life? You can’t survive without a large part of your brain, no stomach or kindeys amongst numerous other anomalies. Educate yourselfs before you get on your righteous high-horse and think you know what you would do.

Sarah April 20, 2009, 1:51 PM

My heart goes out to any parent that finds out, either by testing or at birth that their child has such severe abnormalities. It is heart wrenching no matter what you do and my heart completely goes out to them! My thought though on the idea that terminating saves them from pain later on is that how on earth can the child not feel pain during an abortion? They must feel it. I think the child will be in pain regardless, which is really sad. I also have a hard time believing that God would put a child on this earth for nothing. There has to be a reason, and I can’t imagine that it is only to be aborted. I was told that I had a high chance that my daughter had downs syndrome and didn’t consider aborting (at birth we learned she didn’t have downs), but, that is very different from some of the severe abnormalities such as not having a brain. I have never been in that situation and cannot imagine the absolute pain and tragedy that the parents go through. My heart certainly goes out to anyone in that situation!

Also Beenthere April 20, 2009, 8:29 PM

Sarah, I’m glad your baby is okay, but you need to understand that there is a world of difference between “a high chance” indicated by a screening test and a chromosomal diagnosis confirmed by amniocentesis (or CVS, for that matter). I don’t know anyone who would terminate on a flimsy probability rather than a firm diagnosis. Furthermore, my baby did not experience pain during a labor & delivery abortion. Physiologically, it was no different than an induced labor (and certainly not anything like the “partial birth” propaganda that’s out there). Full term babies experience more discomfort and distress during labor & delivery as they have far more highly developed pain receptors. Letting an infant with no realistic chance of survival suffer needlessly because you imagine your “God” has some brilliant reason for it is rather selfish, IMO.

Ayliea April 20, 2009, 10:17 PM

Sarah - I am glad that your baby did not have Ds. I did have a D&E and was told that when I was put under, so was my baby. In many cases the baby is given an injection to stop their heart - they NEVER feel pain. Not so for a child that is born with a severe or fatal diagnosis. The children that make it to term with severe or fatal genetic defects DO feel pain and many of them suffer; most of them with fatal defects die quickly, but some unfortunately linger and die a horrible long-suffering death. The fact is that by making the choice to end our pregnancies before our children are born is IMO much more loving and kind than allowing our children to suffer and die needlessly. You say “I have never been in that situation and cannot imagine the absolute pain and tragedy that the parents go through.” It’s true - unless you have been in our shoes, and know that you have a choice between allowing your child to be born and suffer and feel pain, or to end their suffering before they can ever feel it, you will never know what it is like. This is the choice that we make - for our children, because we loved them enough to let them go.

Mommyto31/2 August 22, 2009, 11:25 AM

Ayliea and Also Beenthere, I am not judging you as I have never been given the grim diagnosis that you two have had to face and i am deeply sorry that you two had to face such heart wremching decisions. However i do have a problem with you saying the baby feels no pain during an abortion. I have been witness to HUNDREDS of abortions as i used to work as a support counsler in an abortion clinic before i had children of my own. They DO NOT put the baby under or give it any kind of pain relief medication or stop their hearts. Your dr. may have told you this to make the procedure more acceptable to you but it’s not the reality of the situation. EVERY abortion technique they use is painful and i will not go into details because it’s obvious you two suffered enough just in making the decision to abort. I do understand you wanted to save your child a whole life worth of pain an suffering but do not say their death was painless as i can assure you it was not. Maybe that few seconds of pain was better than a lifetime of pain. Thats not my belief or opinion but it’s not my child nor would i have been the one caring for it so i will keep it to myself, it just irks me when people try to falsely make women believe that the abortion they have done is painless to their unborn child when it is not at all. Good luck to both of you women i hope if you havent already that you have a healthy baby someday

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