Parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder appear to limit attempts to have more children after the first signs of the disorder manifest or a diagnosis is made, according to researchers.
Thomas J. Hoffman, PhD, of the University of California San Francisco and colleagues, compared reproductive behaviors among 19,710 families with a child born with an ASD from 1990 through 2013 to 36,215 control families.
Behaviors were similar between the two groups after the first few years after birth of a child with an ASD, but birth rates dropped off in subsequent years among the ASD group, the researchers found. Families whose first child had an ASD had a second child at a rate of 0.669 that of control families.
“These results are, to our knowledge, the first to quantify reproductive stoppage in families affected by ASD by using a large, population-based sample of California families,” the researchers wrote.
Few studies have examined the curtailment of reproduction (ie, stoppage) after the diagnosis of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Stoppage was investigated by comparing the reproductive behaviors of parents after the birth of a child with ASD vs an unaffected child using a survival analysis framework for time to next birth and adjusting for demographic variables. The findings were reported in JAMA Psychiatry.
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