Medicine Matters: Prenatal Diagnosis (Programme 1)

Medicine Matters: Prenatal Diagnosis (Programme 1)

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Belfast, Belfast City Hospital, Orchardville Centre, The Royal Hospital for sick children, Belfast, The Royal Victoria Hospital




Transmission 13/06/1986


25min 40sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UTV Archive

Rights Holder


It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


This programme contains sensitive language which some may find upsetting.

Raymond Maxwell explores the subject of prenatal diagnosis and health care for newborns. Includes discussion of medical conditions such as spina bifida and Down syndrome, and the impact that such prenatal diagnoses may have on parents.

Prof. Normon Nevin (Medical Geneticist) explains that, in Northern Ireland, 5% of the population will suffer from a genetic abnormality, or disease, at some point in their lifetime. This has led to increased attention being drawn to the possibility of preventing those abnormalities occurring in the first place. Victor Boston (Paediatric Surgeon) discusses spina bifida, relating the symptoms and complications that can result from the birth defect. 

Various families relate their day-to-day experiences raising children with Down syndrome or spina bifida and recall their emotional reaction when presented with the diagnosis. Interview with Mr Evans and Mrs Evans about their children who have spina bifida. Interview with Anne Ewbanks about her son who has Down syndrome. Comments from Tom Ruddy and Molly Ruddy about their reaction to their child having a mental disability. Interview with Brian Rix about the advice given for his daughter who has Down syndrome. 

Prof. Nevin also speaks about how genetic counselling, regarding hereditary diseases, and how this can help ease anxieties and guilt surrounding the matter. Footage of counselling session in progress, with a couple finding out exactly why their child was born with Down syndrome.

In the studio, Prof. Nevin, Dr. Gabriel Scally (Eastern Health Board) and Prof. William Thompson continue the discussion, looking at how genetic factors, along with environmental factors, are often a cause of genetic abnormalities - lifestyle comparisons are drawn between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain. Other topics include testing unborn babies for disabilities, genetic advice, and what support services are available to families.


A UTV production.

Series Advisor: Gabriel Scally 

Studio Director: Will Armstrong  

Producer: John Scobbie 

Presented by Raymond Maxwell

Contributors include: Mr and Mrs Evans, Mrs Anne Ewbanks, Bian Brix and Mr and Mrs Alderdice.

UTV acknowledges the assistance of the following: D.H.S.S., Staff & Patients at Orchardville Centre, Mencap, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children Belfast, Belfast City Hospital and The Royal Victoria Hospital. 



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