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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Autism linked to infertility

26th October 2006

20072006_lab1.jpgCouples who find it difficult to conceive are four times more likely to have a child with autism, according to US research.

Scientists say the risk of other serious conditions, including cerebral palsy, seizures, mental retardation, and cancer, was almost three times higher in children born to couples with fertility problems, than those who conceived easily.

They also discovered there was a 40 per cent higher risk of developmental problems and learning disabilities or serious hearing or sight disorders.

Today autism is 10 times more common than it was 20 years ago, although experts say this is mostly due to improved diagnoses.

Fertility treatments could have an influence, but scientists found the increased risk also applied following a natural conception, suggesting the underlying infertility is more likely the cause.

But it does mean as more infertility becomes treatable, the rate of autism and other conditions like cerebral palsy may increase.

The overall risk was higher for children born following treatments, but researchers said this could relate to a more severe infertility.

One in seven British couples now has difficulty conceiving, and more than 10,000 babies are born through IVF each year.

Experts said the absolute risk to infertile couples of having a baby with any serious disorder was still low.

Researchers said further studies now needed to be carried out to find out more about the link.

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