In Vitro Fertilization and Autism

Photo by Flickr/soupboy

Dr. Ditza Zachor, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, has recently published a study that raises questions regarding the link between in vitro fertilization and autism.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment for those who are infertile, and is the procedure where egg cells become fertilized while outside of the womb.

Zachor’s research concluded that out of a study with 461 children who were all on the autism spectrum, 10.5% of the subject group were conceived using IVF.  The average age of the mothers in the study was 32.6Zachor was concerned when she compared the numbers to the percent of the Israeli population that has autism: 3.5%. She stressed that her study does not draw conclusions, but rather sheds light on another autism link that should be questioned thoroughly.

She admitted that there are variables that could affect the research results, like premature births and low birth weightZachor will continue where she left off in order to negate the variables and narrow down a more accurate conclusion.

One of Zachor’s current leads is imprintingImprinting is the process where the cells are divided and genes are selected in the embryoZachor believes that while in the test tube environment, malformations can occur during the imprinting process, altering the way that the gene is expressed in the embryo.

Zachor hopes that her research will soon lead to a definitive study, and health professionals will be able to identify possible problems within the IVF procedure.


Ditza Zachor, M.D. – Israel, works in Pediatric Neurology and Child Development, Director of The Autism Center, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Tel Aviv University. The popular doctor will be speaking at ICare4Autism’s 2010 International Autism Conference, held on June 5-6, 2010 in Jerusalem at the Ramada-Renassaince. Dr. Zachor will give an original presentation on “Risk Factors for Autism: The Role of Prenatal and Birth Complications and Parental Measures.”

To View the conference schedule please CLICK HERE

To visit the official website of the 2010 International Autism Conference please CLICK HERE

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