International trends of Down syndrome 1993-2004: Births in relation to maternal age and terminations of pregnancies

Guido Cocchi, Silvia Gualdi, Caroline Bower, Jane Halliday, Björn Jonsson, Åsa Myrelid, Pierpaolo Mastroiacovo, Emmanuelle Amar, Marian K. Bakker, Andrea Correa, Berenice Doray, Kari Klungsør Melve, Babak Koshnood, Daniella Landau, Osvaldo M. Mutchinick, Anna Pierini, Anukka Ritvanen, Vera Ruddock, Giocchino Scarano, Barbara SibbaldAntonin Sípek, Romano Tenconi, Dave Tucker, Göran Annerén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine trends of Down syndrome (DS) in relation to maternal age and termination of pregnancies (ToP) in 20 registries of the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR). METHODS: Trends of births with DS (live-born and stillborn), ToP with DS, and maternal age (percentage of mothers older than 35 years) were examined by year over a 12-year period (1993-2004). The total mean number of births covered was 1550,000 annually. RESULTS: The mean percentage of mothers older than 35 years of age increased from 10.9% in 1993 to 18.8% in 2004. However, a variation among the different registers from 4-8% to 20-25% of mothers >35 years of age was found. The total mean prevalence of DS (still births, live births, and ToP) increased from 13.1 to 18.2/10,000 births between 1993 and 2004. The total mean prevalence of DS births remained stable at 8.3/10,000 births, balanced by a great increase of ToP. In the registers from France, Italy, and the Czech Republic, a decrease of DS births and a great increase of ToP was observed. The number of DS births remained high or even increased in Canada Alberta, and Norway during the study period. CONCLUSIONS: Although an increase in older mothers was observed in most registers, the prevalence of DS births remained stable in most registers as a result of increasing use of prenatal diagnostic procedures and ToP with DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-479
Number of pages6
JournalBirth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth prevalence
  • Down syndrome
  • International trends
  • Maternal age
  • Termination of pregnancies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology


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