Does a sperm donor in California prove that autism can be genetic?
In the April issue of O magazine is the story of a sperm donor who "fathered" 11 autistic children with eight different Moms. The Moms found each other on the Donor Sibling Registry--a
Web site service that has matched more than 4,000 children with
half-siblings--and they were startled to discover similar social and
communication impairments that characterize kids with autism.
None of the Moms have a family history, and, according to the California Cryobank, nothing showed up on Donor X's medical profile either. A similar case at the California Cryobank showed four of the seven children from Donor 3066 were diagnosed with autism.
"It's true if you that if you marry someone and have a child, you never know the whole picture about genetic risk," Liza Mundy, author of Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World, told Oprah Magazine. "But because sperm donation has become an industry, a greater number of people will be at risk from a single person's genetic makeup."
The stories raise huge questions about autism and genetics. Would a family history of autism make you fearful to have children?