How does maternal age affect the odds of having a baby with Down syndrome?

The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome increases as the maternal age increases. The risk increases significantly after the age of 35. However, as most women are having children earlier than 35 years of age, most cases of Down syndrome are to mothers younger than 35 simply because so many women are pregant at younger ages.
The likelihood of having a child with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, especially after age 35. That said, 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age, due to higher fertility rates in this age group.

This content originally appeared on the National Down Syndrome Society website.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.