What Is Risk Of Downs

25 Replies
ttc at 35 yrs of age - November 8

At what age does the risk for having a baby born with Downs Syndrome increase? And to what extent is the risk? I know the risk gets greater as the mother gets older- but what is the actual statistical risk for say-age 35, age 37, age 40, age 42, etc. I am so nervous about this issue!- I am 35 and ttc. /thank you for your input!!


Judi - November 9

I'm 35 and 14 weeks pregnant with my first child. I was told that my risk of Downs based solely on age was 1 in 270. The risk does start to increase at 35, just because of the age of your eggs, but it is still pretty small. We did have the first trimester screen (blood test and ultrasound) and, based on those results, my risk dropped to 1 in 635. You do have a slightly higher risk, but you still have a very, very good chance of having a normal, healthy child. Good luck!


L - November 9

1% risk at age 35. 2% risk at age 40.


to Judi - November 9

Thank you so much for your post! I have been reading about the risks after we turn 35 and ttc, and I plan on asking all the questions to my obgyn when I make that first appt. and I plan on doing the screenings as well. I so want a child and even though the risks are higher, I know that my dh and I are very much prepared and would love that child if it had downs or not. I am just so nervous about the idea of feeling guilty (like it is my fault) if there is something wrong. Thanks and congratulations on your pregnancy!!!


Suzie - November 9

i had a genetic counseling meeting yesterday and she told me i had a 3% chance at my age (42).


??? - November 9

what would 3% mean? one out of.....? chance???


in the woods - November 9

3% means 3 babies out of 100 babies have the defect statistically.


Wise (maybe/maybe not) - November 9

L is soooooooo correct about it ! this includes many other complications . The amount of risks to both mother and child are quite a few but the percentages are always low for each one . I still believe the issue of being alive long enough to see your children grow up and maybe even seeing grandchildren grow up is a far greater issue because there is nothing better than to be alive and vibrant to see that and participate in it . That itself is worth alot of peace for when you get old . although I understand it I also find it a little hard to digest when some of the younger girls here get picked on for maybe being a little too immature or too young . It is real catch 22 but the fears of down syndrome and other complications are just not called for and there is nothing wrong with having children at an older age .


in the woods - November 9

In reply to Wise - On one hand, there is a concern of living long enough for older parents to see their children grow up. On the other hand, and nobody mentions it, the longevity of population has increased, and the sandwich generation pays tremendous toll.. The point is, the less we subject our children to care for us, long living, the better. When people lived only to be 65 years old, having children in their 20s made sense. Maybe increased longevity and increased maternal age is not a coincedence but the societal/natural way to go?


to in the woods - November 10

yes you are correct again but I doubt I'm the only one who fears the aging process going against the vibrant and alive feature of family although I find the societal/natural way to go a little troubling . a peice of me leans more toward the idea that one should be sitting in a licence establishment having a drink with their child when they are 40 rather than having children , and it would be more fulfilling to not let the great-grandparent reality disappear forever because I havn't seen any statistics but I'm sure the idea that the population is getting older is mearly because we are not having as many children rather than the length of time we are living as individuals . Wise (probably not)


Wise (maybe/maybe not) - November 10

oh I should also ad to the poster that the risks are very minimal as people here have mentioned concerning down syndrome . despite my own concern I think it would be a terrible thing to live a life without having any offspring so now is as good a time as any and don't worry . some would argue that there are too many people already and some just like the freedom away from the obligations and responsibilities of raising children so in a way being 40 with your children grown is still quite young to reestablish ones self back into those freedoms .


Alison - November 11

I was 38 when first baby was born - lovely daughter, no problems. I'm now 43 and 12.3 weeks pregnant. I've just had the "nuchal translucency scan", which a__sesses the risk of Downs Syndrome. When I first arrived for the scan, my risk was 1:23. After measuring the thickness behind baby's neck, my risk was 1:124. Those are statistics. In actual fact, the Radiologist performing the scan was having trouble getting the necessary "profile shot" of Junior, as baby was insisting on facing us - or rolling over so quickly Radiologist couldn't "pause" the screen in time to get a measurement! After quite a while of watching an uncooperative 6.8 cm little person (that looked a bit like an alien, I must admit!!!), Radiologist commented "don't worry, I can see from the glimpses I've already had that the measurement will be nice and thin!" - which it was, once Junior finally agreed to two profile shots!! So, although statistically my risk seems high still, my particular baby's measurement was fine - Radiologist's parting comment was "so baby has pa__sed its first test with flying colours!". I work for this Radiologist sometimes, so I know she was being totally up front with me!! Hope this is of some help!?


Julia - November 15

Thanks Alison that's good to hear. I just turned 36 and almost 12 wk pg with my 2nd. We are booked for the NT u/s next Tuesday. I want to SEE the baby and am excited for that but worried as far as what the results will be. I kind of feel like they are bound to come back bad because my age already puts me at a disadvantage. The baby would have to measure better than average to improve my stats at all right? I think if all looks ok with this scan I am pa__sing on the 16 wk bloodwork. Too stressful.


Judi - November 15

Julia, see my post above. I'm 35 and after the first trimester blood test and nuchal translucency scan, my risk dropped considerably. There's a very good chance that your baby is fine. I'm not doing the 16 week bloodwork either since my first trimester results were so good.


Alison - November 15

I've just been phoned by my Midwife, who has only just read the above-mentioned scan result, still giving my risk as 1:124. An amniocentesis is "strongly recommended" if your risk is higher than 1:300!, so she was very worried. However, I rea__sured her that as the Radiologist was performing the scan, she kept saying she wasn't worried, as what she could see looked fine - and her comment about this baby "pa__sing with flying colours". So I managed to alleviate my Midwife's fears (I can't blame her, she has only recently told another mother her amniocentesis was positive for DS - my Radiologist had actually picked that one up at the scan and said the other baby had a very obvious "bulging" behind the neck, which mine certainly doesn't). In N.Z., we have to pay for the blood test that I think you're talking about, so, like Judi, I'll pa__s on that, on the strength of the scan! There's no way I'm ever having an amniocentesis - I would still go ahead with the pregnancy anyway, if I found something out, so what's the point of risking the pregnancy. I will have the 20 week anatomy scan, though (mainly because I want to see it again, and know what s_x it is - tee hee!!). Do you still want the ACTUAL statistics for each age - I have them on a brochure here? - if I were you, I'd flag them, they'll only stress you out unnecessarily (like my Midwife was!). Like I said - apparently my risk is still VERY high - but I am absolutely at peace, knowing that my actual baby looks absolutely normal!! Good luck with your decisions.


Julia - November 15

Thanks you guys. Glad both your scans looked great :-) Alison why do you think your stats still came back worse if the baby lookd great? Is it all to do with your age? Man I am thinking I'll do this scan just to see that my baby looks ok but pa__s on hearing the results!


Julia - November 15

I'm sorry, your results did NOT come back worse, they improved considerably after the scan.



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