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“IVF Technique May Increase Risk For Autism, Mental Disability In Kids” – Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News (7/3, Kitamura, Cortez) reports that intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), “a rare in-vitro fertilization [IVF] technique that addresses male infertility, is associated with an increased risk of autism and mental disability in children, compared with standard methods,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ICSI is a technique “in which a sperm surgically extracted from the testes is injected directly into an egg before being transplanted to the womb.” Investigators found that “using the injection method with ejaculated sperm also raised the risks, though not as much.”

The Huffington Post (7/3, Pearson) reports that the “researchers analyzed the birth records of 2.5 million children born in Sweden between 1982 and 2007,” finding that babies born as a result of IVF “had an 18 percent higher risk of mental retardation relative to those who were not.” But, “the absolute risk was small: Just over one percent of the children born after an IVF procedure had intellectual disabilities.”

The CNN (7/3, Hudson) “The Chart” blog reports, “While no link was seen between autism and singleton children conceived via any form of IVF, study results did show a four-fold increase in the risk of autism in children conceived under the most severe forms of male infertility (in which sperm must be surgically extracted), compared to less severe forms of male infertility, but even that risk only showed up in twins.”

HealthDay (7/3, Norton) reports, “Experts said the findings suggest that whenever possible, IVF should involve implanting only one embryo in the woman’s uterus, rather than the traditional route of implanting at least two.”

According to MedPage Today (7/3, Walsh), an accompanying editorial “called for further surveillance of children born after IVF.”

Also covering the story are Reuters (7/3, Kelland), the Daily Telegraph (UK) (7/3, Gray), and the Daily Mail (UK) (7/3, Hope).

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