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Evidence for ASD Recurrence Rates and Reproductive Stoppage From Large UK ASD Research Family Databases

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire Wood, Frances Warnell, Dr Annette Hames, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Emerita Professor Helen McConachie, Professor Jeremy Parr


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Following a diagnosis of a developmental disorder such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in early childhood, parents may decide to have fewer children than previously planned. The tendency for families to halt reproduction after receiving a diagnosis for one child is known as reproductive stoppage. Stoppage may lead to an underestimate of recurrence risk estimates of parents having more than one child with ASD. Using two large UK ASD family databases, we investigated recurrence rates for ASD and evidence for reproductive stoppage for both ASD and undiagnosed ASD/broader autism phenotype in a subgroup of families. Reproductive stoppage was tested for using the Mann-Whitney U-test to disprove the null hypothesis that affected and nonaffected children were distributed randomly by birth order. Dahlberg's later-sib method was used to estimate recurrence risk and take stoppage into account. Data were available from 299 families (660 children) including 327 with ASD. Ten percent of the complete families had more than one child with an ASD. Using Dahlberg's later-sib method, the recurrence risk for ASD was 24.7% overall and 50.0% in families with two or more older siblings with ASD. Children with ASD were born significantly later in families than those without ASD in all sibship combinations. This study shows strong evidence that ASD is associated with reproductive stoppage. These data have important implications for family planning and genetic counseling. Autism Res2015, 8: 73-81. (c) 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wood CL, Warnell F, Johnson M, Hames A, Pearce MS, McConachie H, Parr JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Autism Research

Year: 2015

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Pages: 73-81

Print publication date: 01/02/2015

Online publication date: 01/10/2014

Acceptance date: 11/08/2014

Date deposited: 04/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1939-3792

ISSN (electronic): 1939-3806

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1002/aur.1414


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