No increase in autism associated genetic events in children conceived by assisted reproduction

In a large sample, no increased rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) associated genetic events in ASD subjects conceived by assisted reproduction compared to ASD subjects conceived without assisted reproduction.

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Sean Ackerman, M.D., Julia Wenegrat, M.A., David Rettew, M.D., Robert Althoff, M.D., Ph.D., Raphael Bernier, Ph.D.

Volume 102, Issue 2, Pages 388–393



To understand the rate of genetic events in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who were exposed to assisted reproduction.


Case control study using genetics data.


Twelve collaborating data collection sites across North America as part of the Simons Simplex Collection.


2,760 children with ASD, for whom 1,994 had published copy number variation data and 424 had published gene mutation status available.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Rates of autism-associated genetic events in children with ASD conceived with assisted reproduction versus those conceived naturally.


No statistically significant differences in copy number variations or autism-associated gene-disrupting events were found when comparing ASD patients exposed to assisted reproduction with those not exposed to assisted reproduction.


This is the first large genetic association to concurrently examine the genotype of individuals with ASD in relation to their exposure to ART versus natural conception, and it adds reassuring evidence to the argument that ART does not increase the risk of ASD.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.