Photos of infants with trisomy 18 are featured on the community pages of the Trisomy 18 Foundation website. The photos were placed on the website by the children's families, notes the foundation. Some of the children in the photos are still alive, but others have passed away.
Trisomy 18 is a common genetic abnormality that occurs when a fetus inherits an extra 18th chromosome, according to WebMD. Also known as Edwards syndrome, the condition results in a host of severe, life-threatening congenital defects, including defects in the lungs, kidneys and intestines, and heart defects, such as a hole between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Many of these infants have very small heads, small jaws and cleft palates. They have feeding problems and deformities of the hands, feet and chest, and most are severely developmentally delayed.
Trisomy 18 occurs in about 1 in every 5,000 births in the United States, but the incidence of the disorder is actually higher because many of these infants do not survive to term, explains WebMD. About 50 percent of full-term infants with the disorder are stillborn, and of the remainder, less than 10 percent survive for one year. Those who do survive have many health issues, and survival into adulthood is extremely rare.