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Scary Down's Syndrome Statistics?

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, May 19, 2017 | 6 comments

Image: Baby smiling, bebe riendo. Photo credit: Juan Pablo Oitana (pepoitana), on FreeImagesPersonally I find the statistics we get about Down's Syndrome somewhat confusing. So I translated them into percentages. I think it is all too easy to think of 1-80 as one in 80%, but it is not. 1-80 translates to 1.25 % for DS, or 98.75% chance of NOT having Down Syndrome....

Maternal age as a risk factor for occurrence of Down Syndrome

Age...Stats...Percentage DS...Percentage not having Down Syndrome
36....... 1/200.......0.5% DS.............or 99.5% NOT!
37........1/150.......0.666667%DS.....or 99.333333% NOT!
38........1/120.......0.833333% DS....or 99.166667% NOT!
39........1/100.......1%DS...................or 99% NOT!
40........1/75 ........1.33333%DS........or 98.66667% NOT!
41........1/60........1.66667%DS........or 98.33333% NOT!
42........1/45........2.22222%DS.......or 97.77778% NOT!
43.........1/35 .......2.85714% DS......or 97.14286% NOT!
44.........1/30........3.33333% DS.....or 96.66667% NOT!
45+.......1/20........5% DS ...............or 95% NOT!


What I get from this, is that the chances of having a baby with Down's Syndrome does not go up as drastically as I had originally thought. The one in whatever numbers makes things look very bad for us. When I translated them however to percentages, they look a lot better. We have a better chance of having a baby without Down's Syndrome. If I had an illness and was told I had a 95% chance of getting better, I would not plan my funeral. Would you?

I think all too many doctors are giving misleading statistics for a couple of reasons. The first being that OB/GYN’s are the highest sued doctors in the US. So they pay the highest premiums. They do not want to take any chances of anyone saying they were not warned about DS so they push for Amnio’s. Second they get paid a lot to do Amnio’s. Unlike NT’s and Level Two sonograms, the OB/GYN that recommends them usually does them as well.

I got a bill for my amnio because the hospital miss filed it as elective surgery. I cleared it up and did not have to pay. The total was about 10,000 US dollars. Six thousand of which was going to my OB/GYN alone. So money is a factor as well. Who do you think ends up paying that high insurance rate?

NOTE: This article was written by my good friend Jillian from

Photo credit: Baby smiling, bebe riendo, by Juan Pablo Oitana (pepoitana) on FreeImages
All rights reserved



About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Johannah says:

    Scary is not a word that I use to describe my beautiful 6 year old with Down Syndrome.

  2. Catherine says:

    So true Johannah! My eyes were opened when I watch Life Goes On with Corky, a young man with Down Syndrome. What an incredible character and actor he was! There was so much I did not know or understand about Down Syndrome before that.

    In the context of the post, doctors often use these statistics to frighten older moms from attempting to conceive.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How much does the risk go up after age 45? My mom's 53, and she's worried about having a baby with Down's Syndrome.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm so glad I came across this post. I was just trying to figure out the percentage for Downs myself. I had my first child a day before my 41st b-day and am in the process of trying for number 2. I turned 44 in Feb. and am waiting for all of my test results to come back. Wish me luck!!

  5. Catherine says:

    Wishing you baby buckets full of luck!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think that your comment is what is misleading. It is a fact that women over the age of forty have very alarming percentages of having babies be born with many different health disabilities, including prematurity. Looking at one comment that you made about OBGYN's being the most sued physician in the US, lets ask ourselves WHY? There are MANY MANY problems that can and do occur for women when having babies, especially those over the age of 35. There are physical changes that occur in our bodies at that age that make it much more likely for us women to possibly experience a great list of problems during pregnancy. That is not a conspiracy, it is basic science. Doctors are there to protect us form what they know and what we simply DO NOT KNOW, unless you are a physician yourself. Not to mention that almost every preventitive measure that an OBGYN makes is a requirement by the National Institute of Gynechology and Obstetrics and most of the way that they practice is led bylaws that are in place for a reason; to protect people. So, all I am saying is your comment took such a narrow view and was basically all opinion.

Don't just sit there, reading this story or article - say something! Do you believe it? Do you think it is impossible? Do you wish it was you? Do you have a story to share (it might get published!)

NOTE: Comments are moderated - just to stop the spambots - and so may take up to a few hours to be approved.

Catherine reserves the right to review, edit, refuse or delete any comment.

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