Chances of having a down syndrome baby at 40

For centuries, people with Down syndrome have been alluded to in art, literature and science. In recent history, advances in medicine and science have enabled researchers to investigate the characteristics of people with Down syndrome. Mosaicism (or mosaic Down syndrome) is diagnosed when there is a mixture of two types of cells, some containing the usual 46 chromosomes and some containing 47. In translocation, which accounts for about 4% of cases of Down syndrome, the total number of chromosomes in the cells remains 46; however, an additional full or partial copy of chromosome 21 attaches to another chromosome, usually chromosome 14. The additional partial or full copy of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome can originate from either the father or the mother.
Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels, though older women have an increased chance of having a child with Down syndrome. Since many couples are postponing parenting until later in life, the incidence of Down syndrome conceptions is expected to increase.
Once a woman has given birth to a baby with trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) or translocation, it is estimated that her chances of having another baby with trisomy 21 is 1 in 100 up until age 40. There are two categories of tests for Down syndrome that can be performed before a baby is born: screening tests and diagnostic tests. The diagnostic procedures available for prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis. Individuals with Down syndrome are becoming increasingly integrated into society and community organizations, such as school, health care systems, work forces, and social and recreational activities. Due to advances in medical technology, individuals with Down syndrome are living longer than ever before. Women who delay motherhood have led to a sharp rise in the number of babies diagnosed with Down's Syndrome over the past 20 years.
But the rate of infants actually born with Down's has fallen slightly over the same period owing to improved testing and subsequent abortions. Doctors claim many women do not fully understand the risks of having babies late in life, with the chances of having a Down's child 16 times higher for a woman of 40 than a 25-year-old.

The study found live births of Down's babies actually fell by 1 per cent during the 20-year study period. But if widespread screening of pregnancies for the chromosomal abnormality had not been in place - followed by terminations - the number of infants born with Down's would have risen by 48 per cent. Down's Syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, created by chance at the point of conception.
In the study, published online in the British Medical Journal, researchers analysed data from the Down's register for England and Wales.
The proportion of Down's pregnancies diagnosed before birth increased from three per cent to 43 per cent in this age group as a result.
The proportion of couples diagnosed with a Down's pregnancy who decided to terminate has remained constant at 92 per cent. But the actual number of abortions has risen because more babies are now being diagnosed with Down's, the study showed. Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, said: 'We realise that tests will continue to become more accurate at increasingly earlier stages of pregnancy.
Norman Wells, of Family and Youth Concern, said: 'The high proportion of mothers opting to abort a baby with Down's Syndrome suggests that there is a need for pregnant women to be made aware of the support that is available to families caring fior a child with Down's. Rosa Monckton, whose second daughter Domenica has Down's Syndrome, has campaigned tirelessly to raise both awareness and funds for the condition.
In recent years, Down syndrome has become more common, and children with Down syndrome are living longer. The presence of the extra full or partial chromosome 21 causes the characteristics of Down syndrome. Maternal age is the only factor that has been linked to an increased chance of having a baby with Down syndrome resulting from nondisjunction or mosaicism. A 35 year old woman has about a one in 350 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, and this chance increases gradually to 1 in 100 by age 40. Individuals with Down syndrome possess varying degrees of cognitive delays, from very mild to severe.

The site provides answers to common questions, educates about Down Syndrome and shares the stories of other parents with similar situations. Instead of the usual 46 chromosomes present in each cell, Lejeune observed 47 in the cells of individuals with Down syndrome.
Still, many physicians are not fully informed about advising their patients about the incidences of Down syndrome, advancements in diagnosis, and the protocols for care and treatment of babies born with Down syndrome. These tests do not tell you for sure whether your fetus has Down syndrome; they only provide a probability. Although other people had previously recognized the characteristics of the syndrome, it was Down who described the condition as a distinct and separate entity.
It was later determined that an extra partial or whole copy of chromosome 21 results in the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. Together with a woman's age, these are used to estimate her chance of having a child with Down syndrome.
These blood tests are often performed in conjunction with a detailed sonogram to check for "markers" (characteristics that some researchers feel may have a significant association with Down syndrome). This means that in 2002 about 83,000 children and teenagers were living with Down syndrome.[Read summary ]Researchers estimated that in 2008 about 1 out of every 1,200 people (children, teens, and adults) living in the United States had Down syndrome.
In 2007, on average, persons with Down syndrome lived to be about 47 years old.[Read summary ]Many factors can affect how long a person with Down syndrome lives.
Sometimes infants with Down syndrome are born weighing less than 1,500 grams, or about 3.3 pounds. In the same time period, about 88% of babies born with Down syndrome survived to 20 years of age.[Read summary ]The number of infants with Down syndrome that die before one year of age has declined over time. Responses from the NSCSHN questionnaire indicated the following: Nearly 60% of families of children with Down syndrome provided health care at home.

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