OLDER MOTHERS APPEAR MOST AT RISK
Down Syndrome occurs in one in eight hundred births in the U.S. About 5,000 children with Down Syndrome are born in the country annually. The general, conventional belief is that the incidence of this disorder increases with the mother’s age, with less than a one in a thousand risk of a woman under thirty having a Down Syndrome baby. The risk is presumed to increase to one in twenty-five for the 45-year-old mother.
However, the National Association for Down Syndrome points out that more current research shows that 80% of babies born with Down Syndrome are to women under 35 years of age! So this suggests very strongly that the mother’s age will not determine the actual risk. A close review of current research statistics provides a convincing argument that is merely looking at the mother’s age will miss 75% of all Down Syndrome cases.
So much for statistics. We need to keep in mind that younger women are much more likely to get pregnant. This fact alone can skew all the statistics doctors are so fond of reciting. A meticulous analysis of them brings us back to the original idea that older women have, a higher risk, as individuals, of having a Down Syndrome baby.
TO ABORT OR NOT TO ABORT
The question every woman over 35 and contemplating pregnancy are faced with is; “should I consider screening?” Moreover, if the test comes back positive, it then comes down to the question of to abort, or not to fail. For some women, abortion is unthinkable. For others, it can be a severe and gut-wrenching conflict. Here are some facts every woman pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby needs.
The chances of a lifelong dependency of a Down Syndrome individual are excellent.A decided minority go on to become relatively independent adults. All, under the best of circumstances, have mild to moderate disabilities coupled with a wide variation in mental abilities and behavior.
Associated health conditions are common. Heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal systems are most often affected by congenital heart defects affecting 40% of these children. Leukemia affects these children 10 to 15 times more often than healthy children.
Bringing up a Down Syndrome child can be very stressful, and expensive.
Mothers of Down Syndrome children generally outlive them.
Nevertheless, Down Syndrome children are generally placid, nonaggressive, and loving.
Awareness of Down Syndrome is improving and the social and educational supports needed are becoming easier to find. Special nutritional needs for these children are growing better understood as time goes on.
Many mothers of these children are happy to have had them and support groups abound. and they can be part of NDIS Service as their container.
So whether or not to be screened is a decision that can only be made by the mother. Moreover, whether or not to abort a Down Syndrome fetus is another implacable decision to be made. Neither is easy. There is not an entirely satisfactory answer to this dilemma. Whatever the mother decides, she is likely to have moments of regret forever after. The question needs to be thought out very carefully.
MITIGATING THE DISORDER
Down Syndrome, caused by a critical imbalance of specific enzymes can be reduced to a great extent with a nutritional approach targeted to the disorder. Since there is no cure, every parent of a Down Syndrome child needs to take this fact under earnest consideration. A visit to an alternative physician familiar with the disorder would be a wise move.