Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trisomy Tuesday

I’m thinking I was feeling a little ambitious when I thought I could do this every week!  Maybe I can get to it every other week.  So, for today’s Down syndrome moment…

Amniocentesis and CVS (chorionic villus sampling) are the only ways to diagnose Down syndrome before a baby is born.  CVS is performed in early pregnancy (I think before 14 weeks) and amniocentesis can only be performed after 14 weeks.  When we found out about the possibility of Down syndrome in my pregnancy, I was 19 weeks along.  Because of the small risk of miscarriage associated with amniocentesis, and because a diagnosis wouldn’t change anything for us or for how my pregnancy was treated, we declined and waited until Daniel was born to know for sure that he has Down syndrome.

It is estimated that 80-90% of all Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated.  That means that 8 or 9 out of every 10 children like Daniel don’t even get to take their first breath.  My heart breaks every time I hear this statistic.

People with Down syndrome tend to have weaker immune systems than people without that extra chromosome.  Add a heart defect on top of that and you’ve got a kid who’s probably going to catch every bug on the planet and could be very sick with just the smallest cold.  Germ control is definitely a must!!

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