PARENTS held a rally to raise awareness of the "ignorance" surrounding children with Down Syndrome.

About 15 families gathered in Centenary Square, Bradford, where they held a banner saying "We all belong, please don't screen us out."

The rally was to highlight non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a simple and accurate screening method to detect Down Syndrome in a developing foetus.

Parents of children with the condition said they were concerned that the tests will lead to an increase in terminations and "reduced awareness of people with Down Syndrome".

Dr Wendy Uttley, of Bingley-based charity Down Syndrome Training & Support Service, said all parents should be supported and given clear, unbiased information when facing decisions.

"We are pro-choice - all parents need to be able to make an informed decision based on clear, unbiased information.

"We are concerned that increased terminations will lead to reduced awareness of people with Down Syndrome, reduced expectation and reduced inclusion.

"This leads to an 'out of sight, out of mind' society that is ignorant of the potential of children with Down Syndrome and fear of the unknown."

She said her son, Sam, 18, "does not lead a negative live - he loves life".

"Any negativity comes from society's perceptions and lack of understanding of his condition," she said.

Bingley mum Charlene Hamilton, who attended the rally with son Noah, three, said: "All children are important. Noah is the centre of our world and has brought my family together."

She claimed hospital staff initially failed to congratulate her when Noah was born.

"There was just a silence - a doom and gloom as they walked into our room. He's my third baby and I noticed the difference."