Hospitals “failing to report foetus abnormalities”

Swedish hospitals are failing in their duty to report abnormalities in foetuses, a professor of genetics at Uppsala University has told Swedish Radio.

Two years ago an official inquiry proposed that it should be compulsory to report abnormalities, but the proposal still has not passed into law despite support from the Chancellor of Justice’s medical ethics committee.

Today, only every other foetus with Down’s Syndrome is reported. The consequences of this failure to record cases could be serious, said Professor Göran Annerén.

“If we have a medicine which causes a certain abnormality we’re not going to pick it up, since the foetus is aborted and not reported anywhere,” he told SR.

In the worst case, said Professor Annerén, the health system risks missing something comparable to the Thalidomide catastrophe at the beginning of the 1960s.

Health minister Ylva Johansson told SR’s P1 Morgon programme that improving the reporting of abnormalities is a matter of urgency. However, she said that the inquiry’s proposal went too far. She refused to say when a bill could reach parliament.

The number of children with Down’s Syndrome has increased in recent years, as the average age of mothers giving birth has risen, reported Metro. Consequently, the number of these foetuses which are aborted has also risen.

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