What Is the Chance of Having Autistic Child

What Is the Chance of Having Autistic Child?

The chance of having autistic child is the question that runs into the minds of the people who have observed a case within their social circle or specifically their family.

There are several risk factors of autism spectrum disorder, including genetic factors, nongenetic factors, and environmental risk factors. Currently, autism prevalence is in about 1% of the population of the world.

Some independent calculations suggest multiple mechanisms that are involved in the autism risk of an individual. One genetic risk factor associated with autism is maternal and paternal age.

The study of the interaction between genes and environmental factors has been neglected so far, but recent studies have shown a link between them.

What is the chance of having autistic child?

What is the chance of having autistic child? It is estimated that autism occurs in about 1 in 59 children in the United States. So, while there is no definite answer, the chances of having an autistic child are not high.

There are some genetic and nongenetic factors that contribute to the development of autism in the children born.

If your child or any loved one has autism spectrum disorder, you must be wondering what are the possible causes behind autism. To enlist the answer, there is not any specific cause, but there are many causes associated with having a child with autism.

Risk factors associated with autism:

There are several factors behind autism risk in an individual. These factors influence autism risk independently and cause an increased risk of having children born with autism.

Some of the common factors related to the increased risk of developing autism include:

  • Having a family member who is already diagnosed with autism

  • Environmental factors like severe pollution

  • Having premature birth

  • The advancing maternal age

The most consistent findings out of the multiple studies published on the population-based study are listed below:

1) Risk factors associated with body and brain:

Below given are some of the factors related to the brain and body, that increase the chance of having autistic child.

Brain shape and growth during pregnancy:

During the brain scans of the people with autism, it was noted that the children born with autism have different brain structures indicating different brain development as compared to the brain of neurotypical people.

Brain growth:

During childhood, the brains of children born with autism happen at a faster rate as compared to children born without autism.

Brain cells connections:

Children born with autism have observable poor connections between the brain cells. The process called pruning which helps in excluding the unnecessary brain cell connections happens effectively in autistic children, while in children born with autism, it doesn’t happen.

Pregnancy infections:

Although this risk factor has a very slight association between the people regarding the development of autism, some studies indicate that there might be an increased risk of the development of this condition if the mother gets any bacterial infection during pregnancy.

Maternal age and autism risk factor:

Whether having older or younger parents affect the possibility of having a child with autism? Does having a children born with autism depend on the parent’s age? We will examine that in the upcoming read.

There is common knowledge among people that pregnancy happened at an increased maternal age causes complications. Studies indicate that with the increasing maternal age, the risk of autism increases in the children born to the mother.

Increased mother’s age is also linked with a lot of other developmental disorders, like Down Syndrome, etc.

The Study:

A comprehensive study was conducted as per Autism Speaks, which examined the parental age of 10,000 autistic children and nearly five million control children. The study indicated that the children born to mothers having ages greater than 40 years had 51% more chances of developing autism.

Increasing maternal age:

A study based in California indicated that maternal age is continuously on the rise. The study shows that between 1982 and 2004, the number of children born having mother’s age between 40 and 44 years has increased three times.

But surprisingly, this study also indicated that the number of cases related to increasing maternal age and autism risk accounts for only 5% of the cases.

Paternal age and autism risk factor:

The studies conducted earlier indicated that autism’s risk factors are associated with both paternal and maternal ages. But the latest study indicates that paternal age and autism are only related if the mother’s age is under 30 years.

This way, while comparing paternal and maternal age through autism research, it can be said that maternal age and autism risk are linked more as compared to paternal age and autism risk. We can say that the advanced maternal age poses more ASD risk than the maternal age.

Other than that, older parents are more prone to have children born with an autism spectrum disorder. A 2014 study based on Swedish medical records hinted that children born with the paternal age more than 45 years are 75% more prone to autism as compared to the fathers in their 20s.

There is also a lack of clear evidence of whether the maternal and paternal ages and independent risk factors are associated with an autism spectrum disorder.

Similarly aged parents:

The study conducted on autistic children indicated that the rates of autism cases in children born to young and similarly aged parents were the lowest in numbers.

Genetic Mutations related with parental age:

A study was conducted regarding advanced parental age which indicated that each passing year in a man transmits two or more de novo mutations to their offspring.

The study was also conducted in mice which confirmed that the offsprings of older male mice harbor a comparatively larger number of genetic mutations, where age alters chemical tags on mice’s sperms.

Other factors associated with parental age:

Less information and shreds of evidence are available in the area of the variables that affected the findings of the studies, such as the parental psychiatric history and some factors linked with the parental age, e.g. birth weight and other complications.

Environmental risk factors:

While digging into the environmental factors behind the ASD risk, a lot of studies are currently going on.

These studies as per the national health records indicated that environmental factors like nutritional deficiencies and exposure to toxic chemicals during the pregnancy and development of a child increased the ASD risk.

Exposure to chemicals:

Before the birth of a child, if the mother is exposed to certain toxic chemicals, the children in the developmental stages are more exposed to developing the disorder.

Longer cumulative exposure of the mother to the environmental factors increases the chance of developing autism in a child. A study also indicated that the use of certain anticonvulsants during pregnancy will increase the chances of children born with autism.

Drugs used for mood control, managing seizures, or preventing premature birth contribute to the development of ASD.

Exposure to pollution:

Autism research also indicates that if a pregnant woman gets exposed to high levels of pollution, she will develop more chances or risk of giving birth to a child with autism.

The association between pollution and autism becomes strongest when the baby in the womb is exposed to a high level of pollution during the final weeks of pregnancy.

Children get exposed to many toxic chemicals and pollutants during their early childhood and in pregnancy, which can cause autism, especially in children who have the particular version of the so-called MET gene.

Family History:

The chance of having autistic child also relies on the family history, as the disorder runs in families. If you have a child with autism, the autism research says that you are more prone to have another child born with autism.

Furthermore, if you have a child with autism in your relatives, there are significantly more chances that your child may develop the condition.

Genetic makeup:

The chance of having autistic child also depends on the genetic makeup of your child. The genetics of a child plays a significant role in determining whether or not your child will develop the condition.

The identical twin studies show that if you have one child with autism, there are significant chances of 40 to 90% that the other twin will also develop the condition.

Associated genetic disorders:

Autism research indicates that if a child has autism, there are 10% more likely chances that the child can have other chromosomal or genetic disorders, e.g. Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis.

Wrapping Up What Is the Chance of Having Autistic Child?

What Is the Chance of Having Autistic Child? Above given is the comprehensive information about the individual chance of having autistic child to help the reader in understanding the factors associated with ASD risk.

Among all of them, more emphasis is put on the paternal and maternal age effects on having a child with autism.

Older parents tend to give more ASD risk to their children than younger parents. Moreover, there are other paternal and maternal ages linkage with autism, that are discussed in detail to help the reader understand each possible chance of having autistic child.

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