Autism and IVF

Olive Care Team

July 07, 2013

The Swedes have reassured us on autism. A Swedish study of 2.5 million children published in this month's Journal of the American Medical Association found no increase in the risk of autism in children conceived by IVF compared to naturally-conceived children. The study followed children for about 10 years and found that IVF didn't affect the risk of autism. This is certainly good news, and with this huge number of children analysed, I think we can be confident that there is no increase in autism with IVF.


What was less reassuring is that couples with severe male factor infertility who were treated with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) did have a slight increase in the risk of autism if the embryos were frozen. The increase was small so I do not anticipate most infertile couples declining ICSI because of autism fears (remember millions of babies have been born without autism from ICSI) but it will cause us to pause and reflect.


Other (potential) risk factors for autism include:

  • males
  • family history
  • fragile X mutation carriers (a genetic disorder)
  • father's age > 50
  • preterm birth
  • environmental exposures (living close to a freeway, exposure to certain chemicals, etc.)

The hunt for the cause and treatment of autism continues, as does our work to determine the risks of IVF and/or ICSI. The data so far have been reassuring that almost all babies born from IVF are healthy and without autism.

Inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse people is an important value of Olive Fertility Centre. We are continuously striving to create an environment of compassionate belonging where all of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are supported, valued and respected.

Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).

© 2022-2024 Olive Fertility Centre. All Rights Reserved.