Couples who experience fertility problems may be more likely to have a child with a serious medical condition, such as autism or cerebral palsy, the results of a new study indicate.
A team of US researchers compared the children born to 2,000 couples who had experienced fertility problems, with children born to 2,000 couples who did not have any problems conceiving.
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The study found that couples who had experienced fertility problems were more likely to have children with autism, cerebral palsy, cancer and mental disabilities. They were also more likely to have seizures.
The risk for autism alone was four times higher among the couples with fertility problems.
Developmental problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sight and hearing problems were also more common among the children of couples who had experienced problems conceiving.
The researchers believe that what caused the fertility problems in the first place may go on to cause further problems later.
"It is as if a brick wall has stopped you becoming pregnant. Treatment allows you to climb over the wall, but it is still there and it goes on to cause problems", Prof Mary Croughan of the University of California told a conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
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