Testing during pregnancy to detect Down Syndrome can be done, however there is the ethical issue of whether such a pregnancy should be terminated; it has been found that over 90% of such pregnancies are in fact terminated.
There are several factors that increase a woman’s chance of her baby having Down’s syndrome:
- The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome increases along with the mother’s age. At age 20 a mother’s risk is one in 1627 where as at age 30 it is one in 1089. At age 35 it climbs up to one in 509 and at age the risk is as much as one in 40.
- When a man over 40 years of age has a child with a woman who is 35 years or more, the risk of Down syndrome increases significantly. However an older father when the mother is under 35 years was found not to increase the risk.
- If a woman has had more than four previous babies, the risk of Down syndrome is seen to increase slightly.
- Smoking is seen to considerably up the chances of a woman having a baby with Down syndrome and the combination of oral contraceptives and smoking seems to increase that risk further.