The real draw of NIPT is its potential as an alternative to invasive testing, a way to replace a needle in the belly with one in the arm, to get information without putting pregnancies in harm's way. The draw of NIPT is that it is non-invasive. That's what makes it exciting.
My hunch is that obstetricians on the front lines -- the ones who counsel pregnant women every day about their testing options -- will realize that the new tests are just plain better. Patients of all ages -- who can inform themselves more easily than ever before -- will demand them too.
"It's noninvasive," my doctor said. "It just offers you some information about your baby." I was pregnant for the first time, and we were discussing prenatal testing. A simple noninvasive blood test sounded good to me, so I stuck out my arm. I didn't think about the test again.
If NIPT becomes part of routine prenatal care, it poses real challenges for genetic counselors, whose professional charge is to communicate genetic information to a wide range of clients in a manner that respects reproductive autonomy and the rights of people with disabilities.
We live in a culture where disability is celebrated as a mark of human diversity (think of Becky on Glee) and even, in some cases, genius (think of Stephen Hawking). We also live in a culture where disability is viewed as an obstacle to be overcome through prenatal testing.
We are a pro-choice family, and we made the best choice for ourselves under the circumstances. Every family facing this type of pregnancy deserves the right to do what is best for them, without government policy limiting the ability to knowledgeably ascertain what that is.