Hanoi-based Central Maternity Hospital reports over a thousand pregnant women infected with Rubella have chosen abortion this year because doctors inaccurately thought their babies would suffer from birth defects.
T.T.H, a 30 year-old woman from Hai Duong who caught Rubella, had an abortion although she was pregnant for the first time after three years of infertility treatment because her doctor had told her that if she kept the child, it would suffer from serious and incurable birth defects.
As Rubella has spread quickly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City recently, Central Maternity Hospital said H. was among more than 1,000 pregnant women who had followed doctors’ advice and decided to abort their babies.
Many chose abortion even though they were having their first babies after going through difficult infertility treatment.
But Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the hospital, said only 16.5 percent of doctors’ suggestions was right.
In a study released by the hospital last month, only 17 out of 103 aborted babies would actually carry the Rubella virus if they had been born.
Tuan said having an accurate diagnosis of whether a fetus has contracted Rubella is a challenging task. Although a mother’s infection can be easily detected, it is hard to know if her child would be infected as well.
Tuan said his hospital had recently received an equipment using amniocentesis, a new molecular biology technique that can gain information about the status of fetal cells with an accuracy rate of at least 95% accuracy.
50 percent of the cases of Rubella-infected pregnant women is now being tested using the technique and the number of mothers who are advised to have abortion has gone down considerably.
“I wish we had this earlier,” Tuan said.