The Down Syndrome Dilemma

Is a life with the syndrome worth living? A first-trimester test raises the question earlier than ever

Sheila and Peter Hebein learned that their first and only child had Down syndrome on the day he was born, in 1972. "I remember kind of stopping breathing," Sheila recalls. Prenatal testing was rare in those days, and because she was only 30, she was not a candidate. "One of the most challenging things about that day is that you're on a great high because you just had a baby," she says. "Then someone comes in and says, 'Yeah, you had a baby, but ... ,' and how they say that but is critical." The Hebeins, who live in Evanston, Ill.,...

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