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Women over 40 NOT higher risk for DS

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 3 comments

Women over 40 DO NOT have a higher risk for Down's Syndrome babies. That statistic is skewed.

The risk is higher for Down's babies with a FIRST pregnancy, and since in the last 20 years a greater majority of women were choosing to put off having babies until in their 40's all of a sudden the instances of Down's babies over the age of 40 increased drastically!

But it wasn't women in general over 40 having was STILL first pregnancies with the high risk - it just so happened that many more of these first pregnancies were occurring over age 40. Thus the stats changed, but were never explained accurately.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that is why more women who have already had kids, typically who have large family and more than 3 kids, over 40 are more likely to give birth to a child with downs.

    Now where is your medical degree with this claim, your statistics, and evidence. I am sorry, but I have been in the medical field in the maternity ward for over half my life, and I have to call you out on this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No, you are wrong.....I'll bet you haven't seen that many Down's babies born to older mothers. I have been a nurse for 24 years and have seen many Down's babies mother's in their twenties and early thirties......I have also seen many, many, MANY women in their forties give birth to healthy NORMAL babies....If you want to look at the Mayo Clinic website, it states that 75% of all Down's Syndrome babies are born to women under the age of 35. I've also read several medical websites that state that the only reason they show that older women are slightly more likely to have Down's is that according to statistics alot fewer women in the older population are having babies period compared to the under 35 age group. Honestly, I've known hundreds of women over 35 with healthy babies and the ONLY Down's babies I've known were born to young mothers. Two that I know personally were in their early twenties.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To any woman reading this article, please consult a genetic counselor or OB/GYN for the true facts. This is a completely misinformed writer. It is not a matter of opinion, but a biological fact that egg quality decreases after 30, but more so after 35. The risk of DS has nothing to do with birth order. The nurse who responded unfortunately is not medically informed of genetics. She sees more younger mothers having babies with DS than older mothers simply because thousands more women in there 20s give birth than women in their 40s. But the risk definitley goes up as you age. That doesn't mean you can't have a healthy, typical child at 40. As egg quality decreases with age, risk of DS increases, and might even be affected by the age of the father (though that evidence is still controversial). That doesn't mean every mother over 40 will have a DS child, just that risk "increases." Please rely on solid sources, not anecodotal evidence passed on as medical knowledge via the internet. I am a mother who gave birth over 40 - my knowledge comes from medical professionals who specialize in advanced maternal age -- not the internet.

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