What is Edwards' Syndrome?

Edwards' Syndrome, otherwise known as Trisomy 18 is a genetic abnormality that can occur at conception.  It can affect any baby but happily it is very rare.  It is caused by the baby having 3 copies of the 18th chromosome, whereas there should be 2 sets of each chromosome.  Hence the name 'trisomy'.  Trisomy 21, known as Down's Syndrome is much more common.

As you can read, Edwards' Syndrome is very rare and affects 1 in every 6000 live births.  Typically, most babies with Trisomy 18 die in pregnancy and perhaps in many cases parents do not learn that the miscarriage was due to their baby having Edwards' Syndrome.  Those Edwards' babies who do make it to birth often die within the first 2 weeks.  Babies and children with Edwards' Syndrome tend to have lots of difficulties such as breathing problems and apnoeas, feeding difficulties and later, learning and developmental difficulties to name a few.  However, they are children who bring so much love and joy and often have some very special gifts to bestow during their heartbreakingly short lives.

Here are some useful links to descriptions of Edwards' Syndrome.






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