Project: Understanding Autism
Publication: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Previous studies report associations between conception with assisted reproductive technology (ART) and autism. Whether these associations reflect an ascertainment or biologic effect is undetermined. We assessed diagnosis age and initial autism symptom severity among >30,000 children with autism from a linkage study of California Department of Developmental Services records, birth records, and the National ART Surveillance System. Median diagnosis age and symptom severity levels were significantly lower for ART-conceived than non-ART-conceived children. After adjustment for differences in the socio-demographic profiles of the two groups, the diagnosis age differentials were greatly attenuated and there were no differences in autism symptomatology. Thus, ascertainment issues related to SES, not ART per se, are likely the driving influence of the differences we initially observed.