The following is the introduction to an article written by Rachel Rettner for the journal Live Science (9/16/19). Those wishing to read the full article can click on the link provided.
A single sperm donor is the biological father of at least 12 children who all developed autism — an extraordinary case that prompted one woman to sue her sperm bank, according to news reports.
The case came to light when the woman, Danielle Rizzo of Illinois, was researching treatments for her two sons, who both have autism, according to The Washington Post. Both sons were conceived with sperm from the same donor, and Rizzo was shocked to discover that other mothers who used the same donor also had sons with autism, the Post reported.
Rizzo was told that the likelihood of all these related children having autism by chance was like all the mothers “opening up a dictionary and pointing to the same letter of the same word on the same page at the same time,” she told the Post.
That means a mutation in the donor’s sperm was likely responsible. But is there a single “autism gene?”