The babies of older mothers are more likely to be affected by Down syndrome and other genetic conditions, for example. The optimum age to have a child is between 20 and 35, according to a 2009 statement by the British Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RGOC). Women older than this may have a higher chance of encountering extra complications that can make pregnancies high-risk ones, the RGOC has warned.
Indeed, a woman in her 20s has only a tiny chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome. It’s below 0.1 percent, in fact, but this possibility increases significantly as a woman ages. Data from the National Down Syndrome Society indicates that upon reaching 40, this risk rises to 1 percent; by the age of 49, meanwhile, the odds are as high as one in ten.
And Down syndrome doesn’t usually run in families, instead occurring randomly at conception. Those children and adults affected have an extra chromosome 21 – either in part or in whole. And as Kecia and her husband Kris Cox, from Murray, Utah, were already parents to two healthy girls, the idea of them having a special-needs baby may originally have been far from their minds.