After the implementation of prenatal screenings across all of Denmark in 2004, the numbers of newborns with Down’s syndrome dropped intensively. While between 2000 and 2004 around 60 children were born with the chromosomal disease each year, in 2006 only 31 were born. More than 90% of all Danish parents to be, decide to have an abortion if they find out that they are about to carry out a baby with Trisomy 21. in 2012 there were only 20 newborns with trisomy 21.
Emmy is five years old. With her parents Martin and Karina and her younger brother Kristian, she lives in the countryside close to Aarhus, in the middle of Denmark. For half a year she has been attending the local kindergarten now. Her parents had to fight with the municipality to find the right spot for Emmy. They realized that inclusion seems not to be the most normal thing in Denmark. Their daughter has been doing great in the new kindergarten. Her ability to speak and social behavior towards other kids improved. Now, at the beginning of 2014 they are at a point where they are trying to find the right school for Emmy. It is a lot to consider and think about: is Emmy ready for school yet? Should it be a public or a private school or even an institue for kids with special needs?
When I first started the project I was driven by my personal interest in answering the question how I would decide if I would be taken the test with my girlfriend. I did know several people with a disability but still I couldn't imagine what it would be like in an everyday life to have a child with special needs. I wanted to know how it is to build a home and in the end what home actually means? What normal means?
Karina and Martin were given a low risk of 1:800 at their screening. “Emmy was just the number one”, they say today. The cut off is set at 1:300, meaning that invasive measures are recommended by doctors. This test can give a clear answer about the health condition of the fetus. It is unclear how this trend will continue. We don't know if people like Emmy will be able to make our life more diverse in the future. However the current discussion in Denmark about this issue shows how important an open and free discussion before implementing prenatal screenings is.