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What is Down's Syndrome?

What is Down's Syndrome?

It is a condition which affects the genes in the body (genetic condition). Down's Syndrome is caused by an extra copy or part of chromosome 21 which usually leads to structural and functional defects.

The human body is composed of cells which contain genes made up of chromosomes. Chromosomes are parts of DNA containing detailed genetic instructions which are responsible for a variety of characteristics such as eye colour or sex of the baby. Usually, cells have 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent but with people with Down's Syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 making them have 47 chromosomes in total.

The extra chromosome affects the whole body such as delays in physical growth, bone development, some degree of cognitive impairment, characteristic facial features and congenital heart defects.

In most cases Down's Syndrome is due a mistake in the sperm or egg genetics. In some cases it can be inherited which is usually due to their parent having an extra piece of chromosome attaching to chromosome 21, and this is passed from the parent to the child even if the parent has no signs of Down's Syndrome themselves.

The chance of having an affected baby is small, there is no clear evidence that suggests anything can increase or decrease your chances of having a baby with Down's Syndrome other than the age of the mother. An increase in age increases your chances of having a baby born with Down's Syndrome, but babies can be born with Down's Syndrome with mothers of all ages.

To book an assessment or for more information please email call 0161 883 0066 .