Things to Ponder Before Undergoing Prenatal Testing

My friend, colleague, and fellow Patheos blogger Amy Julia Becker has a new e-book titled What Every Woman Needs to Know about Prenatal Testing: Insights from a Mom Who Has Been There. My official endorsement of the book, which I include below, was heartfelt and genuine. Amy Julia’s book is in a similar vein to my book No Easy Choice; both are partly memoirs and reflections from us as mothers who have dealt with complex reproductive decisions and having a child with a genetic condition. In both cases, we go beyond our own experience to discuss the issues, questions, and decisions resulting from increasingly sophisticated technology for learning about our children’s genome and potential health long before they are born. And in both cases, we don’t tell people what to do or what decisions to make. Amy Julia and I are both passionate about helping potential and expectant parents to consider the full spectrum of questions raised by reproductive technology, and then begin to formulate their own opinions and preferences based on their values, family history, and if applicable, religious faith.

As the proud mom of a daughter with Down syndrome, Amy Julia is honest about the problems she perceives in how prenatal testing information is often presented, and the gift that her daughter is. But this is not an attempt to tell people which choices they should make in their own pregnancies and for their own families.

My endorsement:

 “Today’s expectant parents can, through increasingly sophisticated and early prenatal tests, obtain much information about their babies-to-be. But paradoxically, they often lack information that would help them answer necessary questions around these tests, including whether to have them at all, how to interpret results, and what to do after receiving unexpected news. While clinicians can expertly explain the “how” and “what” of prenatal tests, parents often struggle alone with the “why” and “what next.” Into this confusing, emotional environment comes Amy Julia Becker’s excellent e-book on What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing. Becker’s core argument is that parents would do well to consider the complex questions raised by prenatal testing as early in pregnancy as possible (if not before). While she is up-front about her own leanings, informed by her experience as mother to a child with Down syndrome, Becker does not argue that particular decisions about testing are the “right” ones. Rather, she shares her own story, raises key questions, and encourages readers to seek additional counsel to answer those questions for themselves. Becker’s book is a reliable and accessible first stop for parents beginning the journey to parenthood in our technological age.”

– Ellen Painter Dollar, author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Parenthood, Disability, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction


What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing
 is available for $2.99 for Kindle download. Check it out. And pass this recommendation along to anyone you know who is pregnant or hopes to be so in the near future. Today’s technologies require more informed and thoughtful preparation on the part of expectant parents, and Amy Julia’s short, readable little book is a valuable resource for that preparation.

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.


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