MYTH: Advanced Parental Age as a Cause of Autism
Some studies show that the risk of autism in a child increases proportionally with the parents' age.
The number of children with autism is growing every year, as is the age when married couples have their first child. For example, in the USA, from 1980 to 2016, the average age of the mother at the birth of her first child increased from 22 to 27 years.
However, the explanation of this correlation is not just the age, but the fact that with age, people accumulate genetic changes that are transmitted to their children, and also become carriers of an increasing number of life-long infections.
Thus, the age of parents increases the risk of autism in a child, but the reason is not age itself.
We've also had a lot of patients with very young parents of the ages 20-24. We believe that age increases the probability of a large number of mutations and chronic infections, which are the cause of autism.