Autism risk higher when mother is older, research shows

Older mothers are at an increased risk of having a child with autism, new research shows. The study, which was carried out by researchers from the University of California, Davis, shows that the father’s age was not usually a factor for having a child with autism, but the risk was significantly higher when the mother was older.

Lead author Janie Shelton, a doctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, told the media that the study challenges the current theory that the father’s age is a key factor in increasing the risk of having a child with autism.

“It shows that while maternal age consistently increases the risk of autism, the father’s age only contributes an increased risk when the father is older and the mother is under 30 years old,” she added.

“Among mothers over 30, increases in the father’s age do not appear to further increase the risk of autism,” she stated.

Recently, the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex called on people with learning difficulties to take part in a survey which will examine access to care for adults with autism spectrum disorders.