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22 Ways Parents Totally Caused Their Kids’ Down Syndrome

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Parents of children with Down syndrome definitely did something to cause their child’s condition, right? And Down syndrome is totally a lamentable thing that requires blame to be assigned… right?

Wrong and wrong. Down syndrome is a randomly occurring genetic disorder and there’s currently no known environmental factor or behavioral activity of the parents known to cause it, according to the National Institute of Health.

Yet, for some reason, many people find it necessary to offer unsolicited opinions on what causes Down syndrome. We asked parents of children with Down syndrome to share some of the most ridiculous “causes” they’ve been offered.

Here’s what they had to say: 

1. “Apparently I did drugs or drank alcohol while pregnant. I did not. And he’s perfect.” — Kasey Dyck

2. “‘Your body was just young and unhealthy.’” — Louise Chalmers-Wilson

3. “I was told that vaccinations caused my daughter to have Down syndrome. Not sure if they meant [my own vaccinations] as a child or what. But it gave me a good laugh!” — Brenda Hickson

4. “No, my level of education had nothing to do with my daughter having Down syndrome.” — Tommy Sorg

5. “It was suggested that perhaps I hadn’t consumed enough folic acid while I was pregnant.” — Pamela De Almeida

6. “Someone told my mom it was because she stood too close to the microwave while she was pregnant.” — Venessa Pumarejo Golding


7. “I was told I drank too much caffeine once and caused it. Yeah, OK.” — Susan Alyssa Fox

8. “It was mentioned that my dad (who spent years in the Vietnam war) may have been exposed to Agent Orange, the effects of which weren’t expressed until he had grandkids.” — Mara Danke

9. “My age!” — Elizabeth Hermosillo-Ervin

10. “Saw a video online saying mothers’ exposure to x-rays and fathers’ exposure to microwaves caused Down syndrome.” — Lauren Jason Quear

11. “My doctor told me the Down syndrome was from having sex with the wrong person (my husband), and if I were to choose another husband I could have normal children.” — Jamie Awtry McClintic


12. “I have a client [whose] grandmother told her mother that demons or something like that came and punished my client’s mother for having a child outside ‘normal birthing age.’” — Bailey Annan Sonday

13. “Taking the drugs the hospital gave me to prevent labor after losing the first twin. I’ve had so many people say, ‘Aren’t you worried all those drugs they gave you caused the ‘damage?’ It’s like people are out and out stupid. Hello, she wouldn’t have been alive if I hadn’t kept her in with the help of those drugs. Yeesh.” — Annie Allen

14. “‘Oh, you must have been partying a lot while you were pregnant.’ I was 21 when I got pregnant with him. I used to get upset. Now 11 years later I’ll laugh and tell them to read a book. He’s adorable and I love him for who he is.” — Myndie O’Hare 

15. “‘What’s wrong with is father?’ LOL, I said, ‘everything.’” — Joseph N. Nita

16. “I took a five-hour driving course and the instructor said drinking while pregnant can cause Down syndrome.” — Racheli Berman

17. “I was told it was a punishment by God because I’m an Atheist.” — Laurie Brott

18. “Although not personally directed at me, I’ve heard others told they must have had an abortion because children with Down syndrome are punishment from God for having one.” — Carrie Brodfuehrer Shaw

19. “I was asked if it was because of my high blood pressure during pregnancy. Really?” — Jody Mellin 

20. “I got this question while I was at Walmart shopping one day, from a middle-aged lady whose husband was looking at my baby girl as if she were an alien…’Is she that way because you got pregnant as a teenager? That’s what premarital sex will do to you.’ I was 19 and married.” — Joede Fleming

21. “Mold in my house.” — Beth Hardinger

22. “I had my son at age 22 and was told that my eggs were old…” — Linda Featherstone

*Some answers have been edited and shortened.

Originally published: November 17, 2015
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