Factors that Increase the Odds of Children Having Down Syndrome

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Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes the cells in the body to produce an extra copy of chromosome 21. This congenital disorder results in a specific set of physical and mental abnormalities. Fortunately, researchers have identified certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome. Read on to learn about some of the most common risk factors of Down syndrome.

Trisomy 21

Trisomy 21 is the most common type of Down syndrome, affecting approximately 94% of patients. Individuals with this disorder have an extra copy of chromosome 21 in each cell. Risk factors for this type of Down syndrome include the following.

  • Advanced maternal age: Women ages 35 and older have an increased chance of having a baby with Down syndrome.
  • Previous pregnancy with Down syndrome: Women who have had a previous pregnancy with this type of Down syndrome have a 1-in-100 chance of having another baby with the disorder.

Translocation

Translocation Down syndrome affects only 4% of individuals with Down syndrome and occurs when an extra piece of chromosome 21 attaches itself to a different chromosome. This type of Down syndrome may be passed down through families, but also occurs randomly. Risk factors for this type of Down syndrome include the following:

  • A family history of Down syndrome
  • Have other children with this type of Down syndrome

Mosaicism

Mosaicism is the least common type of Down syndrome, affecting only 2% of patients. This type of Down syndrome causes only some of the cells to produce an extra copy of chromosome 21. Risk factors for this type of Down syndrome are similar to those for trisomy 21. If you have any of the risk factors of Down syndrome, it is important to visit an OBGYN office like ours that specializes in genetic testing before becoming pregnant.

 

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