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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.
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.
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