To the Point- Age does increase the chances for one specific type of genetic condition known as trisomies or trisomy chromosome conditions, but when you turn 35 you do not fall off a cliff.
Historically speaking, mom’s age is one of the most common reasons that the topic of genetics and genetic conditions is discussed during pregnancy. You may be asking yourself, does age really matter and why do people keep on referring to me as Advanced Maternal Age (AMA)? Here’s the scoop- Mom’s age does increase the chance for one type of genetic condition broadly categorized as trisomy chromosome conditions or trisomies. With trisomies, instead of baby getting the typical 2 copies of a chromosome he or she ends up getting 3 copies of a particular chromosome (tri=3, somy=chromosomes). For more information about trisomy chromosome conditions – click here
It is important to recognize that babies with trisomy chromosome conditions are born to women of ALL ages. The chance simply increases slightly over time. The chance to have a baby with the typical number of chromosomes (i.e. no trisomy) is the most likely scenario for women of all ages.
So what is the chance for a woman your age to have a baby with a trisomy condition? This calculator offers a graphical representation of this risk according to a woman’s age.
So, yes, mom’s age does factor into the chance of your baby having a trisomy. However, it is important to remember is that there is nothing that researchers are aware of that can be done to cause or prevent these types of conditions. It is rare for chromosome conditions to run in families. Most of the time, a trisomy condition occurs by chance and is not due to any inherited factors. National guidelines recommend that all women should have the option to know their chance to have a baby with a trisomy chromosome and be informed of the available testing options, regardless of age.