Prenatal Test for Depression
Depression hurts. Physically and emotionally. It is a major cause of family stress, social alienation, health problems and inability to function at work. The National Institute of Mental health says that the lifetime incidence of depression – serious depression – among Americans is 16.5%. It’s important to understand the different statistics here. This means that if you take 1000 babies, follow them along their whole lives, and keep track of things, at the end of their lives 165 of them will have suffered from true depression. Beyond that, at any given moment, only about one third of Americans would consider themselves very happy.
But the burdens this test places upon mothers is tremendous. What if a mother gets a negative result? Early in pregnancy, she knows that her child may not be spared the grief and difficulties of this suffering. Depression causes suffering, it’s undeniable.
Have you opened a new tab yet to google this new prenatal test for depression? You will actually have to open two new pages and put two different studies together to learn how it works.
First go here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajmg.a.v155.10/issuetoc (if you are a formal journal reading type of person) or if you prefer the blog version, you can go here: http://www.brianskotko.com/index.php/blog
Both of those links are about happiness. And more good stuff. Totally amazingly good.
And here is the link to the company, called Sequenom, who invented the new test: http://www.sequenomcmm.com/home/patients/trisomy-21/
I can hear you way over here in my kitchen. “Wait a minute! That’s not a prenatal test for depression, that’s a Down Syndrome test! I read about that! They said it was great because now women don’t have to worry about risking a “normal” pregnancy by having an amniocentesis!”
Take a minute and think about it. People with Down Syndrome are happier than the rest of us, and their families are thriving. If you want footnotes about the rest of the mental health statistics, email me and I’ll send them along. I am obviously very biased, as a passionately pro-life mama who has had two babies with Trisomy 21. But I think if I had a positive prenatal test that could assure me that my baby would grow up liking himself, not an emotional burden to his siblings, at very low risk for depression… I’d be OK with that. How about you?