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Tall, Dark and Autistic Sperm?

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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?

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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
SugarPlumFairy March 17, 2008, 4:54 PM

this scenario is truly scary.

DImom March 18, 2008, 9:01 AM

Yes, VERY scary! There are many health issues that donors may not know about when they donate. Since many are in college, they don’t find out about some health issues until later in life and then it’s difficult for them to communicate them to the offspring. is one site that is trying to connect offspring with each other to share health information and provide a place where donors can post health information anonymously.

Ginger Taylor March 18, 2008, 11:15 AM

“The stories raise huge questions about autism and genetics.”

No it doesn’t.

There are many contraversial things in the autism debate, but this is not one of them. Everyone from the CDC to the mom’s who believe that vaccines triggered their children’s autism (of which I am one) believes that autism has a genetic basis. The adage being that genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.

Autism DOES run in families, this is a settled question.

What is not settled, and does raise huge questions, is that since there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic (those genes have always been in these families) why so much autism now?

The answer has to be in the environmental triggers.

Too many toxins. Much more than this genetically vulnerable subset of the population can handle.

We can’t control the genes people are born with, but we can control their toxic exposure. And we can start by taking a hard look at at all the toxins in vaccines, and decide if kids REALLY need 36 vaccines by the time they are 18 months old.

When I was a child in the 70’s, we only got 10 vaccines. And there were no viral epidemics and no autism epidemics.

cindy April 3, 2008, 8:40 AM

I have a child with autism that was blue at birth and I had bleeding during pregnancy,I believe he was oxygen deprived, so autism isn’t always caused by one thing.

Mandy October 15, 2008, 7:38 PM

I am a 60 yr old female on the Autistic Spectrum, with two sons, one mildly and one moderately affected.

Concerning the supposed “epidemic”…. it’s absolute nonsense! My elder son who is a classic Aspie was not diagnosed as such until he was 30. When he was a child, doctors and psychiatrists informed me that he did not fit the 13 criteria for autism- he talked and responded (in a head-banging sort of way) to affection.

When I think back to the 1700 children at my High School in the 1960s, I can NOW identify the odd and obsessive behaviours of about a dozen of the children, that I knew personally or observed as odd, as being typical of AS. We were the geeky kids. We were the monsyllabic scientists, the stammering flapping weirdos, the gawky kid who always repeated his great ideas three times and brayed like a donkey, the bossy know-it all girl who never noticed that she made kids of less pronounced genius feel dumb and the children who memorised reams of architectural specifications, knew the atomic chart the way others knew the alphabet, recited wads of Shakespeare at every opportunity and obsessively drew pictures of the teacher and their classmates through every lesson.

We have always been here. You just haven’t known that we were of a kind, and could all have a label slapped on us!

I’ll bet anything that the father of these children is an undiagnosed Aspie.

fireman October 22, 2008, 7:49 PM
larry October 22, 2008, 11:04 PM
jarri October 23, 2008, 2:21 AM
stan October 23, 2008, 5:36 AM
annett October 23, 2008, 8:53 AM
nygel October 23, 2008, 12:12 PM
Lawrence Lollar March 27, 2011, 5:39 PM

I am continually searching online for articles that can benefit me. Thanks!

Sallie Baney March 28, 2011, 5:06 AM

Very nice info and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

Micah Gregorski March 30, 2011, 6:01 AM

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