narrator: blue cross blue shield is a proudsponsor of second opinion. live fearless narrator: down syndrome occurs when a child is bornwith extra genetic material from chromosome 21. and since older women aremore likely to have chromosomal abnormalities in their eggs, does thismean only older mothers are at risk for having babies with down syndrome? is thismyth or medicine?
chromosomal abnormalities, dr. sulkes: only older mothers are at risk for giving birth to babies with down syndrome. that's a myth but we can understand where it came from. i'm stephen sulkes. i'm professor ofpediatrics at the university of rochester medical center and co-directorof the strong center for developmental
disabilities. we all know that the riskfor giving birth to a baby with down syndrome increases with advancingmaternal age. the risk for a woman who is 28 years old is about one in a thousand.the risk for a woman who's 35 years old is about one in 350. and when she getsto age 40, the risk rises to about one in 100. the thing is, that most babies are born to youngermothers and therefore most babies with down syndrome are born to youngermothers. the risk for having another baby with down syndrome, once you've had one, also varies with thekind of down syndrome that it is. as i said before, the risk for a woman aged 28 isabout one in a 1,000. however, the next time that
woman gets pregnant, the risk changes toabout 1 in 150, independent of maternal age. and stays there until the maternalage related risk catches up. a woman who's had one child with down syndromeshould check with her doctor about future pregnancies as well because herrisk may be increased. and that's medicine. narrator: not sure if it's myth ormedicine? connect with us online. we'll get to work and get you a second opinion. narrator: blue cross blue shield is a proud sponsor of second opinion. live fearless