Down Syndrome: An Informative Essay
Down Syndrome is the name for babies born with a disorder related to
their chromosomes. It is caused when meiosis occurs and an error occurs in the
cells development. The reason for this defect is often because the parent is
over 40 or for some other reason their meiosis is not “Up to par.”
The actual defect is an extra chromosome is developed during cell
development. The abnormal development results in 47 chromosomes rather than the
usual 46 (23 from each parent).
This extra gene causes problems in the child’s physical and mental development.
There are an estimated 5000 babies with Down Syndrome born in America every
single year. While the chances of having a Down Syndrome baby are slim, (1 in
1000) it is still an issue that to-be parents should discuss and prepare for.
People with Down Syndrome are identified by many physical
characteristics. Some of these are: larger or almond shaped eyes (sometimes
Brushfield spots on the irises), smaller than normal features, such as smaller
ears or a smaller nose, short stubby fingers, a single palmar crease on their
hands, and having exceptional social intelligence.
Because Down Syndrome is cause by a cell abnormality during meiosis, it
can not really be proven that Down Syndrome is hereditary. A perfectly healthy
mother could have a Down Syndrome baby even though there was never any sign of
the disorder in her pedigree. There are however, three different kinds of Down
Syndrome. 95% of Down Syndrome babies have Trisomy 21. This is the presence of
extra genetic material on the 21st pair of chromosomes. Around 4% have what is
called Translocation. This is where the extra chromosome 21 decided to break
away and attach itself to another chromosome. The last 1% is made up of those
with Mosaicism. This is where some cells have Trisomy 21 while others do not.
There is no cure for Down Syndrome. There is also not way to prevent it.
Once faced with the fact you have a Down Syndrome baby however, the baby will
need various kinds of checks and treatment to help it live. Down Syndrome babies
have a very high rate of congenital heart defects. In fact 30% to 50% have these
defects. An endocardiogram is a way to check babies for any signs of defect and
start the child on treatment. Down Syndrome babies also require more effort and
time in teaching them things because they learn at a much slower rate.
In the case that I find out I am going to be the father of a Down
Syndrome child, I would keep the child even though it would be very hard on me
and my wife. Even though our child would not be the next Einstein or even close,
a life is a life regardless of its intelligence and I would do my best to guide
my new-born child through life.