Edwards syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality resulting in there being a third copy of chromosome 18 instead of the usual pair - this is called Trisomy 18.
Babies with Edwards Syndrome are likely to have some facially different (dysmorphic) features, as well as an increased risk of heart defects and difficulty with apnoea (remembering to breathe) in very young babies. Youngsters (particularly those with the most severe heart defects) are likely to need extensive medical support and due to the expected impairments this is frequently withheld in the mistaken belief that death is imminent and inevitable. It is not, and the oldest known person with the condition is in their early 30s at time of writing.
Infants that survive their first weeks and months will have physical and intellectual impairments but all will learn and develop with time, interact with others and experience a full range of emotions and pleasures. Approximately 1 in 10 babies will see their first birthday, and of these 1 in 10 will live to age 10.
My friend's two-year-old with Edwards Syndrome really loves our labrador. She squeals and laughs with joy whenever the dog comes into view.
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