Special Miracles believes in providing clear and correct information about Down syndrome to anyone who is wanting to know more about it. There are so many stigmas surrounding Down syndrome in addition to misconceptions and offensive use of language. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions with current facts and statistics about Down syndrome.
What causes Down syndrome?
There is no known cause for Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition. The most common form of Down syndrome is known as trisomy 21, a condition where individuals have 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of 46. Trisomy 21 is caused by an error in cell division called nondisjunction, which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra copy of chromosome 21 before or at conception.
What are the types Down syndrome? Is there a "spectrum"?
Is Down syndrome genetic? How is Down syndrome inherited?
What is the likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome?
Certain parents have a greater risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, mothers aged 35 and older are more likely to have a baby with Down syndrome than younger mothers. The risk increases the older the mother is.
Research shows that paternal age also has an effect. One 2003 study found that fathers over 40 had twice the risk of having a child with Down syndrome.
Other parents who are at greater risk of having a child with Down syndrome include:
- people with a family history of Down syndrome
- people who carry the genetic translocation
It’s important to remember that no one of these factors mean that you’ll definitely have a baby with Down syndrome. However, statistically and over a large population, they can put you at higher risk.