Mother says it would be too difficult if daughter with Down syndrome had children

An engaged Australian couple with Down syndrome say they want a family of their own, but the mother of one of them, who opened up about her daughter's genetic condition in a recent SBS documentary, says it would be too difficult.

Both families of the couple - Alex and Ryan - are supportive of their marriage, but Alex's mum, Maria, says they should not have kids.

Maria, in SBS documentary Love Me As I Am: Untold Australia, says the couple would need help to raise a child.

"There is no way Alex and Ryan will have children," she told SBS.

"Under no circumstances [will they have children] because it would be up to Glen and I to help raise it and we're ageing."

Alex and Ryan are being supported by both families, what Maria says is a "key ingredient" for the relationship to be successful. However, having a child was off the table.

"We just couldn't possibly raise another child," Maria told SBS. "No.

"They can have a dog."

But the director of a disability group says the comments reinforced harmful stereotypes, and did not agree, lifestyle network 9Honey reports.

"All people with disability - not just the people with Down Syndrome - have the same rights to family and body integrity and relationships than anyone else," said Queensland Advocacy Incorporated director Michelle O'Flynn.

"The research does show that parents with disabilities are as effective as anyone else," O'Flynn told 9Honey.

"Parents who have disabilities are very loving, very capable, just like they are as employees."

According to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, women who have Down syndrome have a 30-50 percent chance of their baby having the genetic condition, while some males with Down syndrome are unable to.

Alex and Ryan are now planning their wedding and the couple had support on social media. 

"Omg what a beautiful story showing these gorgeous people having a wonderful time," one Facebook commenter said.

"I wish them all the best," another wrote. "Finding love is never easy."

Back in New Zealand, the All Blacks' Barrett brothers have opened up about their sister, Zara, to raise awareness of Down syndrome. 

In New Zealand, one baby in every 1000 is born with the genetic condition.

"People with Down syndrome need to feel loved and included," Beauden Barrett said.


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