Wellness

When Baby Is Due, Genetic Counselors Seen Downplaying False Alarms

Some women are terminating pregnancies based on inaccurate tests.

Maplewood, N.J. - Little Kate Summersgill certainly didn’t look like a child with Down syndrome — no upward slanting eyes or telltale flat facial features.

Devon and Mike Summersgill had believed baby Kate was all but certain to be born with the intellect-stunting disorder because of a blood test Devon’s doctor recommended during her 2014 pregnancy. Even after the birth, when their baby looked fine, their genetic counselor, Laura Limone, insisted that the result of the test was not a mistake, Devon says.

Only after the Summersgills agonized over Kate’s future and spent almost $2,000 more on another test were they satisfied that Limone was wrong — their baby was fine. And when they learned that Limone had a financial relationship with the company that makes the test, called MaterniT21 PLUS, they wondered whether money had influenced the counselor’s advice.

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