The study followed 4,000 women -- half with fertility problems and half without -- and their children up to the age of 6. Scientists found that the risk of mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures and cancer was increased 2.7 times among the children of the 2,000 women with fertility problems, and the risk of autism was four times higher. The study also found that the children of the couples with fertility problems were 40 percent more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities and serious sight or hearing disorders.
"What has caused them to be unable to conceive goes on to cause problems," said lead study author professor Mary Croughan. "It is as if a brick wall has stopped you becoming pregnant. Treatment allows you to climb over the wall, but it is still there and it goes on to cause problems."
However, British Fertility Society spokesperson Stuart Lavery questioned the study due to the wide variety of fertility problems and treatments available to the women.
"There is no doubt that people who have difficulties with their fertility have difficulties conceiving and carrying pregnancies, although it has not been shown that it is the infertility that is causing the problems," he said.
"With the enormous toxic load carried by typical consumers today, most women are simply not biochemically ready to conceive and produce a healthy child," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and proponent of prenatal nutrition. "Artificial fertility processes can hijack the reproductive organs and force a conception, but they do nothing to address the underlying toxicities that likely contributed to the fertility problems in the first place."