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Terminate the Pregnancy or Take the Baby to Term?

It's a position that no happily pregnant woman would ever want to be in, but the reality is that some couples must decide whether their child lives or dies. A recent MSNBC report on perinatal hospices, which support families who have been given a terminal prenatal diagnosis said:

As the number of pregnant women being routinely screened has risen, so have dire diagnoses before birth. Only 15 years ago, prenatal screenings could detect less than a dozen conditions, while now it's possible to test for hundreds, ranging from mild forms of hearing loss to deadly Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

But the paradox of modern medicine is that knowing doesn’t always mean the outcome will be better. Sometimes you can just see death coming from a long way off.

If you knew your child was going to die, what would you do?

Join The Conversation
redsilkshoes redsilkshoes 8 years
Omg, I just watched that video and bawled my eyes out. I've got my 2 year old twin son in my arms and I don't want to let him go.
angelsnan angelsnan 8 years
My daugther gave birth to a much wanted baby at 23wks & 3days into her pregnancy, he was stillborn. whilst i am not against terminating a pregnancy in early stages of pregnancy for whatever reason, or later with chromosome abnormalities i personily think the 24wk cut off date for termination in the UK should be lowerd. Also i can see how the photo at the top of the page might be upsetting for some people, untill you have been through the pain of losing a child you could'nt possibly understand what it feels like, and photo's are all you have of your presious baby. I held my grandson, kissed him and told him how much he was loved. Photo's are all we have to remember him by. whilst some would find them upsetting others find them comforting. Love to all that have felt that pain and to those that haven't i pray you never do.xx
Dixie-Theychangedit Dixie-Theychangedit 8 years
I am very prolife, but I believe I would terminate in the case that the life lived would be short, or painful, or if the baby would be mentally incapacited, not knowing it is in the world. I grew up with an autistic brother, not a higher-functioning one, but one who will never progress past the toddler stage. My dogs are 10 times more intelligent. He has to be taken care of 24/7 and has no idea of his own existence. He merely takes up space, barely more than a rock. That is not a life, and if I had ever been told I was having an autistic, down's or otherwise mentally incapacitated child, I would have terminated the pregnancy. I know there would be others who would not, and martyr themselves for life, but I am not that strong. I forfeited my childhood and adolescense to the nightmare of growing up with a sibling like that, I could not handle a life sentence of it. I was imprisoned in my own home as a child, because merely walking out the door would cause a major tantrum that would last hours and cause major distruction. I could not have any friends over. He nearly killed my firstborn when I was babysitting for my mother after I was grown. It took him putting my Dad in the hospital and nearly killing my mother before they put him in a home. I can only pray he dies before my parents do are no longer able to see to his care and papers. The home he is in insists that their clients go home for holidays, etc., which turns holidays into a fiasco. I will never accept responsibility for him or allow him to come into my home. He destroyed my childhood and everything in it. I have served my time. I will not allow the rest of my life to be taken by a brainless, violent human blob.
sweetnsour sweetnsour 9 years
sunshower-i just pray you NEVER are put in the situation where you have to make a decision on this topic. However, you are entitled to your opinion. Have a great day!
sweetnsour sweetnsour 9 years
Wow- I thought I would be in the minority, but I voted carry the baby to term. I am currently in that situation. I am 6mo pregnant and was told that my baby has a 1/48 chance of being born with Trisomy 18 (fatal disordere). This is my first child and I am currently on bed rest (for other unrelated preganacy complications) and I didn't think once of terminating. My husband and I were clear on that. I even waived the amniocentesis that would "conclusively tell us if our baby would be born with this defect. I decided to stand on Faith. First, science is not exact, and secondly as someone stated earlier God is way more reliable than any test. If God chooses to end the life of my baby then so be it. I can live with that (although I will be devastated and completely destroyed). There was just no way in the world I was prepared to give up on my baby with a "maybe". I pray I made the right decision... It's a sucky situation to be in, but God is good. All you can do is pray...
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
I'm in agreement with PhatE for myself. But like it's been said it's a very personal decision and not everyone's the same. This is just such a difficult subject. I'm getting teary just thinking about it.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
I personally feel that terminating the baby at 5 months is a lot different than giving birth and have the baby die in a day. By then you have seen your child, spend 9 months with your child, given birth to your child to wind up losing it within days. I know I could not handle that, I am not strong enough. To each there own. This is a very personal subject and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. As we are all different.
phatE phatE 9 years
I have a question for everyone who would terminate b/c they couldn't handle it emotionally.. Isn't terminating a child at 5 months devestating as well? This is just my opinion and I am not saying one way is right, or wrong, but I just think it's already a life, and so the loss of it at any phase would be a devestating thing to deal with..
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
I couldn't carry the baby to term, I know what I would take that whole 4-5 months before birth and be morning it that time in addition to morning again after giving birth. I can't imagine the depression that would come after that, all the hormones and that on top of it.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Without a doubt - I would go to term with any baby. Doctors do not know everything. And who knows the cure for what ever teh doctors think the baby might have could be found - you have to hope.
vickibug vickibug 9 years
I think it is impossible to answer that question without being in the situation yourself.
phatE phatE 9 years
"sunshowers" you have some nerve.. sad to me that you've been so jaded that you have the audacity to come on a board and just blast people for something so personal.. not everyone is you, therefore different people have different opinions.. you may want to learn to deal with that..
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 9 years
I guess it depends on the severity of the defect. I could never bring a child into the world only for it to suffer. I have a big problem with the notion that "every life is worth living." I'm pretty sure there are a lot of lives that are too filled with pain and terror to be thankful for having them. It's curious how people won't hesitate to put a sick dog down "because it's the only humane thing to do," but won't extend the same courtesy and dignity to another human being. sweetnshy, sorry to use your friend's baby as an example, but what kind of life is that? The child is a prisoner in his own body. He's probably always been in pain and will be for every moment of his short life. Given that, I don't see how a mother could ever be viewed as selfish for wanting to terminate such a pregnancy. Honestly, I don't have a single ounce of admiration for parents who bring extremely sick babies to term - it's not heroic, it's not selfless, it's just very VERY unfortunate.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I don't know...I would probably carry the baby to term but it would depend on the situation. I know miracles can high school friend knew someone who was told that her baby would have down syndrome and that she should terminate, but the baby was perfectly fine.
phatE phatE 9 years
I know a couple who just delivered a baby with spinal bifida and trisomy 18.. he took one breath and then passed away.. they knew this would be the outcome, yet terminating was never an option.. The baby had a name, a "celebration of life service" and the mother had a blanket with his name monogrammed on it, and a special outfit for him when he was born.. the entire family spent time with him, and a non profit called "Now I lay me down to sleep" took pictures (like the one above). The pictures are unbelievably beautiful and something that they cherish.. The pregnancy was real, the child was real, to terminate and act like it wasn't, would be impossible to bare (in my opinion..) Every life is LIFE.. it's a human being, with an identity and purpose, no matter how long they live.. I think giving it every possibility to life and then also valuing it's life, ex:giving it a name, etc. is something I could down the road look back on and feel OK about.. where as if I terminated the pregnancy, I would always wonder about the what ifs.. (Again, this is my opinion) I think it's an incredibly hard situation to face, I can't even begin to imagine.. but I learned alot from watching this family and I really learned that I trust God more than doctors.. While I am not unrealistic or oblivious to statistics, you really just never know.. People defy the odds daily. I think people underestimate what they can handle or walk through.. My heart goes out to every parent facing that decision.
mrsj mrsj 9 years
RCA--Although you think the picture is disturbing, the woman in the photo is still a mommy, and that is her little baby. She loves him or her no matter what... And unfortunatly this is a part of life that some parents have to go through. It's hard to understand if you haven't had to go through something like this, but I know as a mommy who never got to see her little boy alive that I love him anyway, and I always will. I unfortunatly thought people would think that I was weird or "disturbed" if I took a picture of my boy, so I didn't. And now I wish that I had. There is no shame in this photo.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
I read that article and it was very touching. Also, I'm pretty sure that was the picture they took right after the baby was born, it actually lived a couple weeks. It's alive in that picture. I have no idea what I would do, but I DEFINITELY recommend reading that article before you state your opinion. I think, I would most likely put it in God's hands. He wouldn't give me more than I could handle.
rca1 rca1 9 years
that picture is disturbing a warning should have come with it.especially pregnant women and moms to look at that one would not expect this on a light website like this ,shame on you for showing it.
ylatan ylatan 9 years
this is why i'm glad i don't do any of the prenatal testing. there is so much chance for false positives anyways. blech.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I have more faith in God than doctors. I would absolutely carry the baby to term no matter what the outcome.
Moms Moms 9 years
I believe in miracles and would carry the baby to term. Doctors don't always know everything.
AujahAcorn AujahAcorn 9 years
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rgrl rgrl 9 years
There are so many situations that I can't choose one or the other, and I would not want to judge this in such a general matter. There is a huge difference between mild hearing loss and life threatening diseases. Terminating a pregnancy because the child might have hearing loss should not even be a choice though. :(
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
I voted to continue the pregnancy but I would only do it in certain situations. I know for myself I could just not terminate unless my child would be living with physical pain. As the mother of a special needs child I know how much joy they can bring and how rewarding it has been. child does not have a life threatening problem or a physically debilitating disease. If I knew my child would not live but a couple of days I would still carry to term because I would want to meet that child and have closure. If I knew my child would be living with debilitating physical pain for a couple of years and then die I would have to terminate. I couldn't do that. There are so many variables for me personally. I know what I can and cannot handle so I guess I am open to more than some people who may have never experienced life with a special needs child. It is hard to explain. But, if I knew I was going to have another child just like the son I do have...I would definitely carry to term. But as I said before...something extremely severe with physical, I don't think I would put a child through that.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
wow...what a tough question! I cannot imagine terminating a baby w/ out giving it a fighting chance, but it would be so heartbreaking to see a child suffer. my best friend's sister has a very sick baby. he has Marshall Smith Syndrome. he needs very special care 24 hours a day. he has already had about 10 surgeries in 18 months and he has been in and out of Children's Hospital in Boston since his birth. his bone are so dense and brittle they could break at any time and not be easily repared. his facial structure is deformed so he breaths through a tube in his throat. he cannot eat through his mouth and cannot make a sound. she has never heard her baby cry or laugh and she never will. his lungs are so weak that even the common cold could land him the hospital and pnemonia could kill him. the average life span of child w/ Marshall Smith is age three. the baby's mother is only 19 and his father is 20. such a heavy load for such a young couple. and although they didn't know about his condition untill his birth, they would never have terminated the pregnancy. they love that baby so very much. I realize that not everyone can deal w/ such hardship...I am not sure that I would strong enough. but I truly beleive that everything happens for a reason, even sickness and death. but that would be a very, very difficult decision to make.
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