Thursday, September 2, 2010

Answers about Miscarriage/Down Syndrome

It is so aggravating and upsetting for women when they have a miscarriage. Most of the time they never get a reason for it. It would be amazing to find out why things go wrong with pregnancies and if there is something that can be down to prevent it. What if older women who have babies could take this protein to give them a better chance of having a healthy baby? That would be amazing!!

FROM NBC: Older women are far more likely to have a miscarriage or a baby with Down Syndrome, but the cause has always been a mystery. But now British scientists say the key appears to be a protein which declines as women age.

Lynn and Nigel Condliffe already had their son Jack when, unplanned, Lynn got pregnant with Emily. She was nearly 46, at high risk of having a Down Syndrome baby. She didn't even have a test because any new child would be precious to them.

But after giving birth, it was still a blow.

Lynn Condliffe: "It was a shock, but more so for Nigel. I just saw Nigel's face when the doctor came in and his face just dropped. So that sort of made me that little bit stronger. You just have to cope."

The risk of having a Down Syndrome baby like Emily rises sharply as mothers get old.

At 25, the risk is only one in every 13-hundred live births. By the age of 35, it rises to one in every 365, and by 45, it's one in every 30 live births.

Now what scientists at Newscastle have done is to discover why all the women produce eggs that lead to Down Syndrome, miscarriages and infertility. It's all to do with the genetic material in the eggs, the chromosomes, showing up as red in the microscope. They don't behave normally as the egg divides because there isn't enough of a protein called cohesin.

Mary Herbert/Newscastle University:
"The chromosomes will struggle to align themselves properly before they divide. And therefore, when they divide, some will go in the wrong direction or they'll get trapped in the middle instead of going cleanly to the left or to the right they will get trapped."

"What they've done in laboratory is a piece of basic biology, figuring out what goes wrong in cells as they grow into eggs. That's a long-long way from any kind of treatment for miscarriage or infertility or from tackling Down Syndrome. But in the long run, that's the potential.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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