My child has Down's syndrome. Was there something I did to cause it?
Down's syndrome is not the result of any habit or behaviour on the part of the parents. Down's syndrome is the result of a chromosomal anomaly, and does not depend on parents' health, lifestyle or eating and drinking habits. However, there is a strong correlation between Down's syndrome and the age of the parent, most particularly the mother, at the time of conception and gestation. By the age of 35, the chance of conceiving a child with Down's syndrome goes up to 1 in 400.
Does the use of drugs or alcohol by a parent before or during pregnancy cause children to have Down's syndrome?
No. Down's syndrome occurs at conception, so nothing during the pregnancy can cause Down's syndrome to occur. As for prior to conception, all available research shows that drug or alcohol use does not increase the risk of having a child with DS.
Is Down's syndrome hereditary?
Most cases of Down's syndrome are not hereditary, but occur as random events during the formation of reproductive cells. The one exception is some cases of translocation Down's syndrome. In these cases, an unaffected person can carry a rearrangement of genetic material between chromosome 21 and another chromosome. This rearrangement is called a balanced translocation because there is no extra material from chromosome 21. Although they do not have signs of Down's syndrome, people who carry this type of balanced translocation are at an increased risk of having children with the condition.