What is Trisomy 21?
Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in the presence of an additional third
chromosome 21. It is the most frequent genetic cause of mild to moderate mental retardation and associated medical problems including heart defects,
congenital hypothyroidism, intestinal problems, hearing loss and vision disorders.
For more information on Trisomy 21 please visit these sites:
What Is Down Syndrome? By the National Institute of Child Health
& Human Development (NICHD)
MOD - Down Syndrome March of Dimes Foundation
Medline Plus U.S. National Library of Medicine
What is Down Syndrome? YourGenesYourHealth.org
Down Syndrome: Health Issues By Len Leshin, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Health Care and Associated Conditions By the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)
Down Syndrome Information By Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, Va.
Down Syndrome Fact Page By Patient Plus, United Kingdom
Down Syndrome By Harold Chen, MD, MS, FAAP, FACMG published by Emedicine.com
Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's From Better Health Channel, Published by the
Resourses, Down Syndrome and Cardiac Surgery BMJ: British Medical Journal
Mothers tell their stories...
I told her how sorry I was and that I loved her and did not want her to suffer. I would rather suffer every day for the rest
of my life than to allow her to suffer one moment in life.
~Mom of an Angel
Everything was going great. As already having two "normal" pregnancies under my belt, I felt confident. I knew there
was always that chance of hearing bad news but I said "no, not me, not our baby."
We felt that if our daughter had been in a car accident and was on life support with the same internal injuries, we would
not keep her on life support and let her suffer. This child deserved the same dignity."
~ A grieving mom
I initially thought I would "be brave" and continue my pregnancy. But I came to realize that ultimately it wasn't about
how strong I could be, how deeply I wanted this baby or what important lessons he could teach me. It was about what
he would experience in his short life. Given his diagnosis, he would have known only suffering. As his mother, I
couldn't allow that to happen.
~ A mother at peace
It was our ignorance for believing that all pregnancies led to a healthy baby. It was my arrogance for believing that since
I had the best medical care, took prenatal vitamins even before and during my pregnancy, never took drugs, never smoked
cigarettes and drank about half a glass of wine a year, that our baby would be safe.
~A bereaved mother
A mother will stop at nothing, including her own hurt, both mentally and physically, to protect her child.