Babies with Edwards’ syndrome have more of chromosome 18 in some or all of the cells in their body. It is also known as Trisomy 18.
In the UK, around 3 in every 10,000 births are affected by Edwards’ syndrome.
Most cases result from a random change in the egg or sperm in healthy parents. This change is not caused by anything the parents did before or during pregnancy.
About Edwards' syndrome
Edwards’ syndrome affects approximately 3 in every 10,000 births in the UK.
Babies normally inherit 2 copies of each chromosome, 1 from their mother and 1 from their father, in each cell of their body.
A baby with Edwards’ syndrome has 3 copies of chromosome 18 in each or some of their cells, causing the baby to have development and physical issues.
How your baby's affected
How your baby is affected depends upon a number of things, including the form of Edwards’ syndrome they have.
Most babies have delayed physical and learning development and a range of health conditions, some of which can be serious.
The risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy is high however, this risk decreases as the pregnancy progresses. There's also a risk of stillbirth.
The full form of Edwards syndrome can also affect how long your baby will live.
Edwards’ syndrome can vary
There are different forms of Edwards’ syndrome, these are known as full Edwards’ syndrome and partial or mosaic forms.
Around 94% of babies born with Edwards’ syndrome will be affected by the full form of the syndrome. This means the extra chromosome 18 is present in all of the baby’s cells.
The mosaic form means that the baby will have an additional chromosome 18 in some but not all of their cells. How the baby is affected will depend upon the percentage of cells affected and where those cells are in the body.
The partial form of Edwards’ syndrome is much rarer and means that there is a partial additional chromosome 18 in the baby’s cells. In some cases, the partial copy may adhere to another chromosome (translocation).
The partial form of the syndrome can be due to inherited factors