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Down's Syndrome

consult your physician if trying to get pregnant if 35 or older.

Down's Syndrome is defined as "a congenital disorder, caused by an extra 21st chromosme, in which the affected person has mild to moderate mental retardation, short stature, and a flattened facial profile." People with Down's Syndrome suffer from it for their whole lives.

The cause of Down's Syndrome is an extra chromosome in the the cells of the body. There are 46 chromosomes, or 23 matching pairs in each matching cell. Each pair is designated with a number, from 1 to 22: the twenty-thrid pair is the sex chromosome pair. A child with Down's Syndrome usually has 47 chromosomes, with one extra chromosome 21 added to the normal number 21 pair. This is called trisomy 21. (Smith & Wilson)
This is not purposely caused by the parent; however it has been shown that the age of the mother and father particularly 35 and older for the mother, and age 40 and older for the father puts the baby at a higher risk of being born with Down's Syndrome. Although this is somewhat true, most babies are born to women under the age of 35. But babies born to mother's 45 and up have a 1 in 65 chance of being born with Down's Syndrome.

The symptoms of Down's Syndrome include a flat face, small ears, and slanted eyes. Also small arms and legs, a weak neck and below average intelligence are other indicators of this disorder. A lot of children born with DS also have other health complications, most of which can be treated.


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