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Supporting families after a diagnosis of Edwards' or Patau's syndrome

02 October 2020
Volume 28 · Issue 10
 SOFT UK was founded to offer support to those affected by Edwards' or Patau's syndrome
SOFT UK was founded to offer support to those affected by Edwards' or Patau's syndrome


Trisomy 13 and 18 are increasingly common, and many affected pregnancies do not survive past the second or third trimester. SOFT UK works to support affected individuals and their families

Imagine going from being happily pregnant to being told that the baby you are expecting has a rare and life-limiting condition. If your child does beat the odds and survives to be born alive, no-one can tell you with any certainty exactly how they may be affected by the many, sometimes serious, physical and developmental challenges they will likely face. Even worse it cannot be predicted how long your baby will survive after birth.

This is the experience that parents who are expecting a child with Edwards' syndrome (trisomy 18) or Patau's syndrome (trisomy 13) face (Box 1). A diagnosis of trisomy is a turning point for families; their world will never be the same again.

SOFT UK (Support Organisation for Trisomy) was founded in 1991 by two mothers, both of whom had exactly that experience. Their children, one who was diagnosed with Patau's syndrome and survived for 3 months, and one who had Edwards' syndrome and lived until they were 19 years old, were offered very little hope or support.

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