Down Syndrome

What increases my risks for having a baby with Down syndrome?

A Answers (3)

  • The risk of having a child with Downs Syndrome increases directly with increasing maternal age. For example, it is estimated that a 25 year old mother has a 1/1300 risk of having a Downs child and a 35 year old has a risk of 1/365. Other risk factors include a family history and a previous child with Downs.
  • Maternal age: As women age, there is a greater chance that the cells in her eggs will not divide properly. This increases the risk of having a child with Down syndrome. Women who are 35 years old have a one out of 385 chance that their children will have Down syndrome. Forty-year-old women have a one out of 106 chance of giving birth to children with Down syndrome. By age 45, the risk increases to one out of 30.

    Mothers of Down syndrome children: In general, a woman who has one child with Down syndrome has a one percent chance of having another child with the condition.

    Genetic carriers: Carriers of rearranged chromosome 21 may pass translocation Down syndrome onto their children. The risk of passing the translocation onto a child depends on the parent's gender. Fathers who carry the translocated chromosome have a three percent risk of having children with Down syndrome. Mothers who carry the translocated chromosome have a 12% chance of having children with Down syndrome.

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  • Any mother, regardless of nationality, race, or behavior, might have a baby with Down syndrome (DS). But, females over 35 have a greater chance than those under 35. This is thought to be the case because the older an egg gets, the greater its risk for abnormal division.
    Also, a mother who has previously had a child with DS has a slight increased risk for a subsequent pregnancy with DS (about a 1 percent chance), and those who are known as balanced carriers (referring to the translocation form of DS) have a greater risk as well.

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.
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