Pregnant women offered test for Edwards’ syndrome amid EastEnders storyline about it

Soap storyline raises awareness about Edwards’ syndrome testing for pregnant women, highlighting the difficult decisions they may face.
Soap storyline raises awareness about Edwards' syndrome testing for pregnant women, highlighting the difficult decisions they may face.
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Pregnant women are set to be offered a test for Edwards’ syndrome amid an EastEnders storyline about it.

Most babies born with the condition – where they have abnormal chromosomes – sadly die shortly after birth.

Just over one in ten live to their first birthday.

READ MORE: ‘I had four Turkey surgeries in one day – it’s excruciating and worse than childbirth’

In the BBC soap Whitney Dean – played by Shona McGarty – had a baby with Edwards’ syndrome

Soap storyline raises awareness about Edwards' syndrome testing for pregnant women, highlighting the difficult decisions they may face.
Shona McGarty. (Picture: Jam Press)

The UK National Screening Committee has now recommended a test for Edwards’ syndrome.

It would be offered to expectant mums as part of the foetal anomaly screening programme.

It is for women who miss, or do not complete, the first trimester combined test.

The Albert Square storyline – which aired in February – has been praised for its handling of the issue.

In the Walford soap, Whitney and partner Zack Hudson – aka James Farrar – chose to terminate the pregnancy after being told it would limit the baby’s lifespan.

Soap storyline raises awareness about Edwards' syndrome testing for pregnant women, highlighting the difficult decisions they may face.
Shona McGarty. (Picture: Jam Press)

Edwards’ syndrome impacts the way a baby grows and develops and it happens by chance, because of a change in the sperm or egg before a baby is conceived.

Parents will be told about the abnormality and can then make the difficult decision of whether to terminate the pregnancy.

READ MORE: ‘I thought I was watching my daughter die when she got whooping cough – it was terrifying’