EastEnders has confirmed that Whitney Dean and Zack Hudson’s baby will be diagnosed with Edward’s Syndrome.
Whitney, played by Shona McGarty, receives the diagnosis next month, when an ultrasound scan identifies a birth defect which prompts further testing.
The BBC One soap is working with SOFT UK and Antenatal Results and Choices, to accurately reflect and raise awareness of Edwards’ Syndrome while sensitively portrayed the tough decisions that prospective parents are faced with following a diagnosis.
Jan Fowler, Chair at SOFT UK, said: ‘At SOFT UK, we support families impacted by Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndrome and we were pleased to be able to work with the EastEnders team on how they could approach the story of Whitney and Zack’s baby’s diagnosis of Edwards’ Syndrome in an accurate and sensitive way.
‘Around 3 in every 10,000 births in the UK are affected by Edwards’ syndrome each year and many parents contact SOFT for help. We provide parents with comprehensive advice and support whether they decide to end their pregnancy or to continue. We also support families whose living children have Edwards’ or Patau’s.’
Jane Fisher, Director at Antenatal Results and Choices said: ‘At ARC we hear daily from expectant parents dealing with the shock of being told their baby is not developing as expected, as is sadly the case for those who receive an Edwards’ Syndrome diagnosis.
‘This is a distressing and often isolating time for expectant parents as they try and navigate their next steps in a state of emotional turmoil and it’s rarely spoken about. Well done EastEnders for tackling this difficult subject and we are pleased they involved us to help them treat the storyline with such sensitivity and compassion.’
Chris Clenshaw, EastEnders’ Executive Producer said: ‘It was imperative for us to work alongside Antenatal Results and Choices and SOFT UK to accurately present, and sensitively portray, such an emotional storyline that many parents may relate to.
‘Shona McGarty and James Farrar’s performances have thoughtfully portrayed the realities of the diagnosis and the decision making process with compassion and understanding.
‘We hope that this story resonates with the audience, and that we represent it as sensitively, and as accurately as possible.’
You can find out more information and support by visiting the websites of Antenatal Results and Choices and SOFT UK.
EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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