Should we do prenatal screening for #Autism?

This question is going to very likely insight a great many emotions. I was wondering how you feel about prenatal screening for Autism? I’ve been reading about the possibility of this becoming a reality and I have a great many concerns. 

What would the point be?

What would happen if someone found out that their child was Autistic, while still in utero? How many pregnancies would be terminated out of fear?

Forget religious beliefs all together and just think about the moral and ethical issues alone? Can you imagine what the possible ramifications would be? If 1/50 kids are being diagnosed with Autism, how many of those kids will even have a chance at being born?

This isn’t something that should be taken lightly, at least in my opinion.

Even if we could detect Autism in utero, would we be able to know how profoundly impacted a child would be?

I would really be interested in hearing your thoughts on this…..

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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I would like to believe we would not have.
Based on our child I would have been glad we did not.
He is not as much a burden as others, he does have severe issues, he is violent at times and he can be extremely hard on the nerves.
But you know what, when he is not in a mood, when his behaviours are not terrible he can be an absolute joy.
Would the fact he was diagnosed before birth have changed anything?
most definitely, we would have adjusted diet, allowed far less immunizations and medications in general. we would have removed as much contaminants from his routine as possible and put him into therapy as early as possible to improve the chances of him developing to the best of his potential.
Would it have made much difference?
really hard to say but it would have given him a chance.
I don’t have an opinion, I know some people would use it to adapt their lives, but I also know some would use it to avoid having to deal with the situation.


@Tammy McGann i am right there with you since i have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown (might have had one actually but had to keep going anyway, who else was going to). I don’t recognize me anymore either. i will be praying for your family and especially for you as anxiety sucks meds or no meds

Lost and Tired

rjones22 TaraMarshall John Makin rememberyourdreams96 @Cate Brubaker @Cate Brubaker @Mark N Kathleen Visscher @Tammy McGann @Suburban Mamma @Celeste Johnson @Katrina Garza-Edwards A lot of really great feedback everyone.  This is a really difficult topic and tthere’s no right or wrong answers.  Thank you all for being so honest.  Much respect. 🙂


i dont have thought on autism because my son’s issue was/is leukemia, bone marrow transplant, relapse now 100% leukemia free. then they thought he was faking sick and it ended up being behcets and autoimmune diesease that only 300 in the US have. I have thought about what you are talking about. If i knew how much he would suffer and he is suffering unbelievably i believe i would have terminated. not for me but for him. I don’t know how he stands it now. he has been sick sick for 10 years straight with no releif in sight. unbearable pain even on really really strong pain meds and they would give him more if he wants but he knows more meds wont help so he doesnt ask for more. now i say i would have terminated if i would have seen in the future and saw what actually was going to happen. I love him, glad i had him, glad i have him, but with him being a young adult now he says if he gets cancer again he is not going to treat it. that is heartbreaking for me. it gives me insight though that he would rather not have gone thru all this if he had a chance. good news he has an amazing attitude. He knows me and his brother and dog love him so much it is crazy love. good thing i didnt see into the future but it is so selfish that i want him to have more procedures, more dr appts, more meds, more anything to feel better. I know he keeps some of the pain and problems from me because he knows it hurts me as his mother. I tell my kids today that we believe in the womans right to choose and i want to keep it legal. whatever you do is going to be between you and God regarding judgement. I also tell them that in our case (if they got someone pregnant) we wont abort because we dont have to and i will be there for them. as much as i love my son his suffering is so bad i am glad i didnt have a crystal ball. if they told me in utero that he would have leukemia and there was a cure and would have behcets we could treat, i would not have terminated because it could be treated. then i am now in the real world and what he went thru and going thru and will go thru was not the pic i would have pictured if they told me. real is so worse. still glad i have him

Tammy McGann

Absolutely NO criticism here. Because of my beliefs, I wouldn’t terminate my pregnancy unless my own life was at stake. But I chose to give birth to a child with Down syndrome. Then, surprise! He’s got autism as well! And ADHD, hypothyroidism, chronic sinus infections, GERD, you name it. I’m about to enroll in a program for people with stress and anxiety. In hindsight, I STILL would’ve kept my son, but that doesn’t mean my life is all sunshine and rainbows. I’m as tough as nails and yet, here I am, on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Raising my beautiful child has reduced me to a person I don’t even recognize anymore. No regrets, but it is NOT easy. 🙁

Tammy McGann

I was 20 weeks pregnant when I found out that Jack had Down syndrome. The doctor told me I had two weeks to “decide how I wanted to proceed”. Jack as a fetus is exactly like Jack as a 7 year-old. At 20 weeks pregnant, I already knew his personality. That’s how strong and stubborn he was even before birth. The thought of aborting him, a child I already knew intimately when I was only 5 months pregnant, was a sickening thought. The same thing would go for autism. If such a test existed while I was pregnant with Jack, and I discovered that I was carrying a child who had BOTH Down syndrome AND autism? That would’ve changed NOTHING. But I would’ve been better prepared for him. Some women choose OR NEED to go through pregnancy in complete denial; imagining the perfect baby that they’re going to have. And then, SURPRISE! For some women, that truly is a better option versus spending the remaining 20 weeks being completely stressed out and suffering from MAJOR depression, which is unhealthy for the baby. So it comes down to your personality. I’m a researcher by nature. I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING about my child, my fetus, as far in advance as possible. Having that information wouldn’t depress me; it would empower me. And I would read every book on my fetus’ diagnoses as possible. But for parents who want to remain in La-La-Land, I get it. Some women just can’t cope with the idea of having less than a perfect child. And I understand that. It’s a really tought decision for some women.

Cate Brubaker

That is now, and hopefully will remain, a personal choice. If a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy after learning that the fetus has autism, or down’s syndrome, or Tay-Sachs, etc, who am I, or anyone else, to judge?

Celeste Johnson

I think it would lead to terminated pregnancies. Autism is hard as hell on our kids and families. Honestly (and I hope I don’t get bashed) I would probably have terminated. My son is 20 and I’m exhausted from the daily fights. Heck my entire neighborhood goes on alert when he storms out of my house (like tonight).


As an Autistic adult who works with Autistic and other developmentally disabled children, I must say that a diagnosis of “Autism” doesn’t say much about ANY child who is diagnosed with it before the age of 8.  This especially goes for a fetus that is diagnosed in utero.  The doctors told us when he was 16 months old and four years old that my nephew was severely affected by Autism and that there was nothing we could do.  We largely ignored the doctors, did the diets and supplements the regular docs insisted wouldn’t do anything to help him, got him speech and occupational therapy, and did DIR/Floortime with him at home.
My “severely affected” nephew is now in the fourth grade program at a charter school for math and science on the honor roll.  He spent 3rd grade in the gifted program, but he was bullied in the public school, so we chose a school with a smaller class size and a lot more geeks, and he’s doing well.  He still has social/emotional delays, but he has friends and is academically advanced.
So many fetuses being aborted after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, about 90% of potential parents choose to terminate in the USA.  Which is odd, because in Sweden and Finland, doctors spend time with parents explaining with DS actually means and send them to meet parents of children with it and the kids, and they abort less than 25% of the fetuses with DS.
I think it is much better to give the potential parents ALL the information.  Let them meet kids all along the spectrum with their parents for a few weeks before they make any decisions.  Give them information on early intervention, and what the results are from the best therapies right now.
Some people aren’t really right to be the parents of a special needs child – and from what I’ve seen, some of them aren’t great parents for ANY child, special needs or otherwise.  I’d rather a fetus be aborted than the resulting child be neglected and abused, and end up like some of the “feral children” on my caseload.

Suburban Mamma

Autism is so misunderstood. It would be a great tragedy of ethics if this were to happen, I feel.

John Makin

The label that immediately comes to mind is designer babies; for once we start selecting according to natural variations, how long before there are no children with red hair, or ginger as we would say?
How long before all children were tall and slim and baldness was no more, and all were blue eyed and fair haired and … No, we have already come too close to that one!
Who knows what genes will be identified and selected for …
And all that is without going into the arena to make a stand for morals — which could soon become moral choices! With ethics committees deciding which genes would qualify for termination.
Step a bit further down that path with me and look around.  No more natural births, only ‘test tube babies’–except in the poorer classes; where they still have no choice with a consequential widening of the class divide.  For the designer class wouldn’t want any mixing with that part of the population that still have ‘bad genes’ that they have paid to eliminate.
How long then before they become sub-human and start losing their rights?
The whole idea is crazy and would almost inevitably lead to the end of civilisation …

Mark N Kathleen Visscher

No. But I would take any amazing blessing that God would entrust to me. All life is a blessing. I have given birth 7 times… Our son with autism is our 3rd child. God has a special plan for each of these extra special kiddos. I cannot fathom life without our Isaac. I love him. The good, the cute, the wacky, the amazing, the stimmy, the aggressive…. All of it. It is who he is.


This sounds like eugenics to me…
I seem to recall a study that said it is possible for a child to have autism while their identical twin does not.  If that’s the case, prenatal screening would probably merely indicate a risk of autism, rather than actually indicating autism.  So not only will autistic children possibly not have the chance of being born, but some non-autistic (allistic?) children as well.
Then there’s always the issue of whether some lives are more worth living than others, which is questionable too.

Katrina Garza-Edwards

I agree with what you say in your post. I’m afraid there will be too many terminated pregnancies due to fear.