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Study Links Male Infertility Procedure to Increased Risk of Autism

Using a large Swedish health registry, researchers have broken down the autism risk associated with different types of in vitro fertilization (IVF). They found that most forms of IVF do not increase the risk of autism. They found a small increased risk only with procedures that involve surgical sperm retrieval, a treatment for male infertility. However, this risk disappeared entirely when the researchers excluded children born prematurely or as multiples (twins, triplets, etc.).

The study also associated IVF procedures, in general, with increased risk of intellectual disability. Here, too, the association was strongest with procedures involving surgical sperm retrieval.

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