The lead news item on my radio (BBC Radio 4) this morning was the fact that there has been a significant rise in the number of Down’s Syndrome pregnancies in the UK. Some experts were attributing the rise to the fact that many women are starting families later, when the risk increases.

Coincidentally – at least I assume so, because it must have been planned some time ago – the news was followed by an edition of “The Choice” – a series where Michael Buerk interviews people who have faced difficult choices in the lives. The subject today was Alex Bell, who has adopted large numbers of young people with severe disabilities, many of them Down’s Syndrome sufferers.

I describe Alex Bell as a hero (years ago I would have said heroine, actress, etc, but that would be showing my age) because she faced horrendous difficulties with all these children, and showed remarkable fortitude and cheerfulness in coping with it all. Moreover she started down her chosen road from a very early age, in her teens in fact.

Normally I admire Buerk’s persistent but gentle interviewing style but this time I found it irritating. For much of the time his questions seemed to indicate that he thought Alex was misguided or, at the very least, an obsessive. To her credit she answered all the questions, even those that verged on the patronising, with the same good humour she must have shown a million times with her severely disabled charges.

Don’t take my word for it: listen to the programme at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nf1bv/The_Choice_27_10_2009/