Child bearing at an early age and prenatal cytogenetic diagnosis in pregnant women of advanced age, combined with selective abortion, make it possible to avoid the birth of many children with serious chromosomal anomalies. To see how many of such births were still avoidable in Europe, data from 16 regional EUROCAT registers of congenital anomalies in nine EEC countries were analysed. In the period 1979-1982 about 30% of children with unbalanced anomalies of autosomes were born (live- and still-births) to mothers over 35 years of age. This amounts to an estimated 1300 cases yearly in the entire population of the nine countries. The approach shows the possible use of registry data for monitoring effects of avoidance strategies.
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