What about them?
I have come across this morning a facebook post from AIMS Ireland (Association for maternity services in Ireland) where they say they have been approached by a councillor regarding anomaly scans asking if this is not offered routinely in all areas.
First, what is an anomaly scan?
This is a thorough ultrasound scan of the baby’s anatomy and takes up to half an hour. The scan checks for a wide range of abnormalities that can be seen with ultrasound. It should be kept in mind that ultrasound is not able to identify all abnormalities.
The structure of the head, heart, abdomen, internal organs, umbilical cord, limbs, and spine is carefully assessed in addition to measurements to check baby’s growth. The position of the placenta and the fluid around the baby is also assessed.
It is clear from the comments to the post that this anomaly scan is not offered routinely in the majority of places.
In my case, when I was pregnant, I had my first scan at about 8 weeks (private) in Spain and the gynaecologist gave me an appt to come back for the anomaly scan without even asking. I told her I had to go back to Ireland by then, and she said: then get it done over there. What she didn’t know is how hard would be to get it done in this country. So hard, that I actually never got it done.
Once in Ireland, when I asked the health centre Dr about it, she looked at me and said: “Do you know abortion is illegal in Ireland? ” Yeah. No comment.
I really like AIMS response to the councillor:
Anomaly scans are not routine in many maternity units in Ireland. This is unfortunately one of many ways in which the HSE dictates ‘choice’ to women and clearly highlights another example of failure by the HSE to provide equitable services to women nationwide and the lack of standardized practice in our maternity services. AIMSI is currently campaigning for human rights in maternity settings; full informed choice on all aspects of maternity care. We believe women should be given full choice as to how and where they birth; this includes access to technology, tests, and treatments.
Women in all regions should be provided with all the information and most current high quality evidence of risks/benefits of Anomaly scans in order to aide informed decision making. Women should have the choice available to them to have an Anomaly scan in their maternity unit, within the recommended time frame.
In addition, women who have had fatal foetal abnormalities (conditions incompatible with life), should be supported in their choices following diagnosis by Anomaly scans; to continue with the pregnancy or have a termination in Ireland.
As you are aware, the State does not recognize the rights of women to have terminations for medical reasons, which may very well be an underlying issue on this topic.
What is your view about anomaly scans? Would you like to have them as routine scans?