What Causes Edwards Syndrome

Each cell in your body usually contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, which carry the genes you inherit from your parents. A baby with Edwards’ syndrome has 3 copies of chromosome number 18 instead of 2.

This extra genetic material can cause a wide range of developmental problems and health issues. Here are some of the possible causes of Edwards Syndrome:

  1. Non-Disjunction: The most common cause of Edwards Syndrome is a problem during cell division called non-disjunction. This occurs when the 18th chromosome fails to separate properly during cell division, resulting in an extra copy of the chromosome in some or all of the body’s cells.
  2. Mosaicism: Another possible cause of Edwards Syndrome is mosaicism. This occurs when there is a random error in cell division during the early stages of fetal development, resulting in some cells having the extra chromosome 18 and others having the typical 46 chromosomes.
  3. Translocation: In rare cases, Edwards Syndrome can be caused by a translocation, where a piece of chromosome 18 breaks off and attaches to another chromosome, causing extra genetic material to be present in the affected cells.
  4. Advanced maternal age: Studies have shown that the risk of having a baby with Edwards Syndrome increases with the mother’s age. The risk is highest in women over the age of 35.

It is important to note that having 3 copies of chromosome 18 usually happens by chance, because of a change in the sperm or egg before a baby is conceived. It is not related to any lifestyle or environmental factors, and there is no known way to prevent it from occurring.

Genetic counseling and prenatal testing can help identify the condition early in pregnancy, allowing families to make informed decisions about their options for care.