While the cause of Down syndrome remains a mystery, medical professionals have determined that an expecting mother’s age plays a significant role in the likelihood of her child being born with the condition. According to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), a 35-year-old woman has approximately a 1 in 350 chance of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. As a woman’s age increases, so too does the probability of having a child with Down syndrome. By the age of 40, the chance increases to 1 in 100. At age 49, the theoretical chance is 1 in 10.
As couples increasingly choose to have children later in life, cases of Down syndrome have been on the rise. However, with advancements in medical technology, more painless screening tests are now available during early pregnancy to detect the condition.
Unfortunately, Down syndrome cannot be cured with today’s medicine. However, children born with the condition can live fulfilling lives. While they may experience physical and mental growth delays and develop more slowly than a healthy child, every case of Down syndrome is unique, with a wide range of possible symptoms and development stages.
Caring for and educating children with Down syndrome may require more time and effort than raising a healthy child, but it is possible and worthwhile. In the United States, 40% of children with Down syndrome who attend high school go on to graduate. Many also hold down steady jobs and live independently, although they may require assistance with managing their finances. With proper care and support, individuals with Down syndrome can lead fulfilling and happy lives