What it means to be human

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By Daniel J. Vance

In pastt columns, I discussed the effect children with disabilities have on marriages.
One reader emailed, 35-year-old Brad from Southern California, to say he had been having a remarkably positive experience.
His three-year-old daughter has Down syndrome, which was caused by an embryo cell division that created an extra No. 21 chromosome. It affects 350,000 Americans.
“We spent a week in the hospital after her birth,” said Brad, a corporate strategist, in a telephone interview. “She had a congenital heart defect, jaundice, and a low platelet count. The first few days the doctors suspected Down syndrome, but we were in denial. By the time the test came back though, we had resigned ourselves to the fact it was probably for real.”
Brad and his wife didn’t know much about Down syndrome, but they soon picked up on what Brad described as a “negative bias” in the medical community towards children with Down syndrome.
He said parents are told about risks to families and relationships, but not about studies showing lower divorce rates among parents of children with Down syndrome.

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