IVF for Male Infertility Ups Intellectual Disability and Autism in Children

IVF for Male Infertility Ups Intellectual Disability and Autism in Children

A costly fertility treatment, the first IVF baby was born more than 30 years ago. Approximately 40% of IVF cases are due to male infertility.

The first and largest study to compare all available IVF treatments and risk factors  has proven that the desired offspring are more likely to end up with neurodevelopmental disorders. Led by researchers at King’s College London (UK), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York (USA), those risks include the likelihood of developing autism, and intellectual disability (IQ below 70 although there is n scientific proof of IQ as we have been given to understand).

  • Of the 2.5m children:
  • 1.2% (30,959) were born following IVF
  • 6,959 diagnosed with autism
  • 103 were born after IVF

Of the 15,830 with intellectual disability, 180 were born after IVF.

Autism and intellectual disability remain a rare outcome of IVF, and whilst some of the risk is associated with the risk of multiple births, the study provides important evidence for parents and clinicians on the relative risks of modern IVF treatments.

Though the study downplays the risk, all 6 different types of IVF procedures available in Sweden — whether fresh or frozen embryos were used.

ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is recommended for male infertility and is now used in about half of all IVF treatments. The procedure involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg, rather than fertilization happening in a dish, as in standard IVF. Children born after IVF treatments with ICSI (with either fresh or frozen embryos) were at an increased risk of intellectual disability (51% increase — 62 to 93 per 100,000).

Children born after IVF with ICSI using surgically extracted sperm and fresh embryos were at an increased risk of autism (360% increase — 29 to 136 per 100,000) but the association disappeared when multiple births were taken into account.

The authors did extend their study to consider other possibilities such as parental age, temporal trend, hormonal treatment or length of infertility problems, but found no further explanations to the results.

In the UK, 120,000 children are a result of ICSI. When British couple Marie and her husband Mark, went for IVF (ICSI) treatment, it seemed like the only option.

Problems began when Marie was in her 31st week with pre-eclampsia. Two weeks later, Marie had to have an emergency Caesarean section and gave birth to twins. The smaller twin was Lloyd, but it was Mackenzie who began to have problems feeding at 4 days old, and was diagnosed as having a twisted bowel. Problems continued after the operation.

‘He wouldn’t take enough milk, so he was tube-fed through his nose until he was eight months old,’ said Marie.

Marie described Mackenzie as a lively baby who did everything like his brother Lloyd, but his physical development was slow.

At 12 months, Mackenzie underwent yet more surgery to have a tube inserted so he could be fed directly into his stomach, and to correct a hiatus hernia. The tube stayed in for 3 years, and at aged 5, Mackenzie seemed to be doing OK.

Marie was told about the risk to her own heath, but not the child’s.

Sam Major, aged 40 had had 11 miscarriages. Instead of ascertaining why she has miscarriages, her hospital consultant put her on Clomid, which was her GP did not approve of.

Clomid of Clomifene stimulates ovaries to produce eggs. The following foetal abnormalities have been reported subsequent to pregnancies following ovulation induction therapy with Clomid during clinical trials.

  • ongenital heart lesions
  • Down syndrome
  • club foot
  • congenital gut lesions
  • hypospadias
  • microcephaly
  • harelip and cleft palate
  • congenital hip
  • hemangioma
  • undescended testicles
  • polydactyly
  • conjoined twins
  • teratomatous malformation
  • patent ductus arteriosus
  • amaurosis
  • arteriovenous fistula
  • inguinal hernia
  • umbilical hernia
  • syndactyly
  • pectus excavatum
  • myopathy
  • dermoid cyst of scalp
  • omphalocele
  • spina bifida occulta
  • ichthyosis
  • persistent lingual frenulum
  • Neonatal death and foetal death/stillbirth in infants with birth defects

Three months later Sam was pregnant with Callum. One year old Callum could not sit up, and didn’t walk until he was 2½, and had to wear a hearing aid. At school Callum is behind in reading and maths. No cause could be found.

Not many have taken the valid point of some scientists that subverts natural selection, where the strongest survives increasing the risk of congenital defects.

At the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans in 2012, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) they found that babies born from IVF treatment were 1.25 times more likely to be born with abnormalities than those who were conceived naturally.

Many of the studies put forward in support of IVF treatment is questionable as proven by a review carried out by experts at Nanjing Medical University, China.

They looked at 925 clinical studies, but had to reject more than 850 of them because they were badly run or poorly designed, and others were too small to provide a representative picture reported the UK’s Daily Mail.

The Right to Know!

Within Islam, every effort is made to ensure that no confusing process is applied so that an orphan knows its biological parents, but worst practice sometimes defies this. In Australia there is no accurate record of IVF offsprings, with a guesstimate of 20,000 and 60,000. In 2011, the Senate committee found that donor-conceived people may have up to 20 genetic half-siblings with the whereabouts of them unknown as donors can give in a variety of places.

One offspring, now fully grown expresses the distress this has caused her:

“I cannot begin to describe how dehumanising and powerless I am to know that the name and details about my biological father and my entire paternal family sit somewhere in a filing cabinet . . . with no means to access it.

“Information about my own family, my roots, my identity, I am told I have no right to know.”

A daughter of an anonymous sperm donor, Alana S., now 26 a writer and musician from San Francisco just simply did not fee quit right and launched a website called anonymousus.org.

Unregulated, the Senate committee wanted a complete overhaul including the adoption of a registration process so that the children can trace their parents – it is a sad state of affairs when we treat children like a commodity.


Lamb, T “Fertility Drugs Clomid and Serophene Have Long Been Associated With Birth Defects” drug-injury.com/druginjurycom/2011/01/clomid-serophene-clomiphene-birth-defects-fetal-abnormalities-congenital-malformations.html

Naish, J. It brings joy to countless families, but as another disturbing study emerges, what is the truth about IVF and birth defects? dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2151337/IVF-It-brings-joy-countless-families-disturbing-study-emerges-truth-IVF-birth-defects.html

Shahanan, A. Autism and Mental Retardation Among Offspring Born After In Vitro Fertilization” theaustralian.com.au/opinion/murky-business-of-donor-conception-is-having-a-brutal-effect-on-the-offspring/story-e6frg6zo-1226008097867

Sven Sandin, Karl-Gösta Nygren, Anastasia Iliadou, Christina M. Hultman, Abraham Reichenberg. Autism and Mental Retardation Among Offspring Born After In Vitro Fertilization. JAMA, 2013 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.7222

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