What is Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome. It occurs in one in 700 - 900 live births and results when the fetus ends up with three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. When this happens, certain genes on chromosome 21 are “over-expressed” which causes cellular changes that lead to health problems, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Fortunately, scientists around the world are learning more specifics about the biochemical, physical and psychological changes that define Down syndrome and they are exploring ways to prevent or overcome their effects. Down syndrome research, in fact, is turning out to have important health implications for the rest of us as it has led to significant discoveries in male fertility, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

View a timeline showing the history of Down syndrome.

This illustrated video by DSRF speech Therapist Marla explains Down syndrome to young children.

A Quick Guide to Down Syndrome for Parents

Prenatal Testing
You may have arrived at our site seeking information on Down syndrome because you have had a prenatal screening test indicating that you may be carrying a child with Down syndrome. This is an extremely emotional period for expectant parents - the decisions that you face are the most difficult you will ever have to make.

At the DSRF we are here to provide you with information. If you would like an opportunity to ask questions, review our information packages and resources or talk with other families who have faced the same decisions please contact us by email at or by phone at 604-444-3773.

Below are links to further information on the topic of prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy: commentary by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing: position statement by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Friday, 17 July 2009)


Feature Video

DSRF News with Andrew Bingham
See More on Youtube

From The Blog

Please check out our latest blog!
Read More on The Blog

Our Next Event

See more Events
3.21 Magazine
Down syndrome information and inspiration for Canadians

DSRF's Down Syndrome Swag Shop

Official DSRF merchandise and exclusive Down syndrome t-shirts, hats, baby items and accessories!
Go to the Down Syndrome Swag Shop
Down Syndrome Resource Foundation
1409 Sperling Avenue, Burnaby
British Columbia, Canada
V5B 4J8

Fax: +1 604 431 9248
Phone: +1 604 444 3773