Male infertility treatments increases autism risk
A new study from King's College London, the Karolinska Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine has found that in vitro fertilization treatments for male infertility can increase the risk of autism in children. Men who received treatments for the most severe forms of infertility carried the most significant risk of neurodevelopment disorders in their children.
A collaboration of three major international institutions, this study analyzed 2.5 million birth records from Sweden, and found that 1.2 percent – 30,959 children – were born following IVF. Of the 6,959 diagnosed with autism, 103 were born after IVF and of the 15,830 with intellectual disabilities, 180 were born after IVF. The researchers concluded that "traditional" IVF is safe, while IVF involving intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI) increased the risk of both autism and intellectual disability in children.
ICSI is recommended for male infertility and is used in about half of all IVF treatments. It involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg, rather than having the fertilization happen in a dish, which is the standard form of IVF.