OB-GYNs in Japan, who run private clinics have just sought official approval from the Japan Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology (JSOG), to carry out pre-natal testing on fetuses, in order to detect chromosomal abnormalities.
Since the new form of chromosomal testing became available, nationwide in 2013, 92 hospitals have been authorized to perform the procedure under strict conditions set by JSOG.
JSOG required counselling sessions be provided before and after testing as the inevitable decision of whether or not to continue a pregnancy in which the fetus has an abnormality, is one that should never be taken lightly.
Testing in private clinics are going to be less regimented in that patients would not be under the obligation to attend a therapy meeting. The clinics are set to be classified as partner-facilities to the ‘core institutions’ (hospitals) and will undergo rigorous JSOG training courses to become certified.
The implementation of such a practise has ruffled the proverbial feathers of many a pro-lifer, including those who actively chose to carry to term and give birth to a child with a genetic disorder.
The causes of such beliefs, be it rooted in religion or the firm philosophical belief that all lives deserve to be given a chance from the very beginning, I can’t help but reason that at the end of the day, every woman in existence has the autonomous right to choose.
Some may argue that the decision to terminate a pregnancy, based on a genetic abnormality, is cruel and unforgivable. Whereas others put forward the defense that the prospective parents have taken the fetus’ quality of life into account.
This controversial move may also be perceived by some as worrying since the country’s birth rate is steadily declining, resulting in a larger aging population.
Nevertheless, the authorization of private clinics being able to offer chromosomal testing, proves to be a win in terms of medicinal advancement within legal constructs.
By Lavanya Nair