Infertility and its treatments in association with autism spectrum disorders: a review and results from the CHARGE study.

Kristen Lyall, Alice Baker, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Cheryl K. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous findings on relationships between infertility, infertility therapies, and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been inconsistent. The goals of this study are first, to briefly review this evidence and second, to examine infertility and its treatments in association with having a child with ASD in newly analyzed data. In review, we identified 14 studies published as of May 2013 investigating infertility and/or its treatments and ASD. Overall, prior results showed little support for a strong association, though some increases in risk with specific treatments were found; many limitations were noted. In new analyses of the CHildhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) population-based study, cases with autism spectrum disorder (ASD, n = 513) and controls confirmed to have typical development (n = 388) were compared with regard to frequencies of infertility diagnoses and treatments overall and by type. Infertility diagnoses and treatments were also grouped to explore potential underlying pathways. Logistic regression was used to obtain crude and adjusted odds ratios overall and, in secondary analyses, stratified by maternal age (≥35 years) and diagnostic subgroups. No differences in infertility, infertility treatments, or hypothesized underlying pathways were found between cases and controls in crude or adjusted analyses. Numbers were small for rarer therapies and in subgroup analyses; thus the potential for modest associations in specific subsets cannot be ruled out. However, converging evidence from this and other studies suggests that assisted reproductive technology is not a strong independent risk factor for ASD. Recommendations for future studies of this topic are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3715-3734
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume10
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Medicine(all)

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