Down’s syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells. In the majority of cases, Down’s syndrome is not an inherited condition. Down’s syndrome usually occurs because of a chance happening at the time of conception.

As yet we do not know what causes the presence of an extra chromosome 21. It can come from either the mother or the father. There is no way of predicting whether a person is more or less likely to make and egg or sperm with 24 chromosomes.
There is a definite link with advanced maternal age for reasons yet unknown. However most babies with Down’s syndrome are born to women under the age of 35, as younger women have higher fertility rates.
What we do know is that no one is to blame. Nothing done before or during pregnancy can cause Down’s syndrome. It occurs in all races, social classes and in all countries throughout the world. It can happen to anyone.

For every 1,000 babies born, one will have Down’s syndrome.
About 750 babies with Down’s syndrome are born in the UK each year.
Down’s syndrome affects people of all ages, races, religious and economic situations.
There are approximately 40,000 people with Down’s syndrome living in the UK.

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