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Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria

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Abstract

MOREIRA, Lília MA  and  GUSMAO, Fábio AF. Genetic and social aspects of Down syndrome subjects' sexuality. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2002, vol.24, n.2, pp. 94-99. ISSN 1516-4446.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462002000200011.

Regarding sexuality of Down Syndrome (DS) subjects, parents and educators tend to refer to their non-sexual behavior, and to consider their relationships as based on either affection or aggressive attitudes. This paper reviews important studies about sexuality and reproduction of DS and perform an analysis of the risks involved in the procreation of DS subjects. A possible explanation for the absence of sexuality in DS lies on the fact that different levels of maturity and social adjustment are disregarded. Factors such as parental overprotection, lack of friendships, and social prejudice are barriers for these people to develop their sexualities. The risks of having DS children when both partners are DS and when only one of them is DS are presented here. In the first situation, if both partners are fertile, the probability is 50% of having a 21-trisomy conceptus, and 25% of having normal offspring. The percentage remaining corresponds to not viable 21 tetrasomy zygotes. The probability of a couple having normal children can be increased, however, to 50% when only one of the partners is DS. In cases of DS with 14/21 or 21/21 translocations, the probability of having normal children is also 50%. However, this probability can be reduced in DS with mosaicism. The right of one's person to live his/her sexuality, on one hand, and the high genetic risk of DS recurrence, on the other, show the need for further discussing this issue and providing emotional support as well as sexual education for DS subjects.

Keywords : Down syndrome (DS); Behavior; Sexuality; Reproduction.

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