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One in 1,000 American babies is born with the Down syndrome genetic condition, although it is estimated that 90% of the mothers who receive an early diagnosis choose abortion.
Before pregnancy, parents can meet with a genetic counselor to determine their risk of passing on a Down syndrome genetic code. Sometimes disorders run in the family if more than one person has the condition. In other cases, mothers over the age of 35 may have an increased risk for having Down syndrome babies or, in rare instances, environmental factors can play a part.
Some Down syndrome research suggests that smoking while being on birth control can cause the syndrome although it is debated in some circles. Once pregnant, a woman can go for an ultrasound, non-invasive blood tests or undergo amniocentesis for a more accurate assessment.
The severity of Down syndrome varies widely from person to person. There is not much Down syndrome genetic research on the distinct differences between trisomy 21, Translocation and Mosaic Syndrome, at present. However, a 1991 report suggested that children with Mosaic syndrome had a mean IQ of 12 points higher than children with typical Down syndrome.