We are all different. Some people are born with the ability to solve complex problems, some of us are creative, some are born without a limb, and others live with varying disabilities that impact their lives. The factors that make us the person we are, are largely thanks to genetics. Genetics is the study of genes, and how traits are passed from one generation to the next. Genes are segments of DNA, the genetic material found in cells, that carry instructions for building and maintaining the body.
Sometimes, a genetic mutation occurs, which changes the DNA sequence of a gene. This can result in a baby being born with varying conditions or disabilities. Genetic mutations can happen naturally during cell division or as a result of external factors. One of the most common conditions caused by this is Down syndrome. Also known as trisomy 21, this is a genetic condition that occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. Typically, humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair. In the case of Down syndrome, an individual has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two.
In the Philippines, around 1 in every 800 babies is born with Down syndrome. To raise knowledge, February is Down syndrome Awareness Month, a time to educate the public and families of Down syndrome people about caring for, educating and ensuring that people with Down syndrome have everything they need to lead a full and rewarding life.
The observance of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the Philippines is an opportunity to shed light on the lives of those with Down syndrome, promoting acceptance and breaking down the societal barriers that unfortunately often go hand in hand with disabilities. It is crucial to understand that people with Down syndrome are not defined by their condition; they are vibrant members of society with their own personalities, aspirations, and contributions.
There is no doubt that the thought of having a baby with a condition like Down syndrome brings about many questions, worries and fears to parents to be, but did you know that there are genetic tests that can provide peace of mind? EasyDNA Philippines offers Prenatal Peace, a non-invasive genetic screening test. This test is 100% accurate and screens for Down syndrome as well as 17 other genetic conditions, providing vital information about your unborn baby’s health.
This test is simple and painless as it uses a standard blood draw from the pregnant mother. The maternal blood is analysed in the EasyDNA laboratories to confirm or exclude Down syndrome and other conditions. It is important to note that this test is a screening test and does not replace diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. However, it can help pregnant women avoid the need to undergo these tests.
Filipinos have lots of opportunities to embrace our Down syndrome friends. More information can be found at the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines on Facebook. People with Down syndrome deserve the love, care, education and opportunities that we all strive for in life.