Is Infertility Associated with Childhood Autism?

17 Jul

Some of the more prolific teams of autism epidemiologists are based in California. The people at Kaiser Permanente, the MIND Institute and the California Department of Public Health must account for a sizable fraction of research papers published. On thing I appreciate about these groups is that they don’t just publish the “hits”, they also “misses” (hypotheses which did not show an increased risk).

Such is the case with at least part of the recent study, Is Infertility Associated with Childhood Autism? The authors found no evidence of increased risk for ASD with infertility. They do find a possible risk “associated with infertility history and with infertility evaluations and treatment around the time of index pregnancy conception”

Here is the abstract:

Concerns persist about a possible link between infertility and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Interpretation of existing studies is limited by racial/ethnic homogeneity of study populations and other factors. Using a case-control design, we evaluated infertility history and treatment documented in medical records of members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Among singletons (349 cases, 1,847 controls), we found no evidence to support an increase in risk of ASD associated with infertility. Among multiple births (21 cases, 54 controls), we found an increased risk associated with infertility history and with infertility evaluations and treatment around the time of index pregnancy conception; however, small sample size and lack of detailed data on treatments preclude firm interpretation of results for multiple births.

–by Matt Carey

3 Responses to “Is Infertility Associated with Childhood Autism?”

  1. lilady at 23:28 #

    I never quite *believed* that treatment for infertility was a risk factor for having a child who is diagnosed with an ASD.

    However, the guidelines for implantation of blastocyst state embryos and cleavage stage embryos for an older woman undergoing fertility treatments, seem to put them at risk for high order births. The very last thing a woman needs is for all the embryos to “take” and for her to have three, four or five babies delivered very prematurely and at extremely low birth weight. Those babies are at risk for a variety of developmental disabilities…including autism


  2. lilady at 23:33 #

    Hmmm…maybe this will link to the November, 2009 American Society for Reproductive Guidelines for embryo implantation.


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