Fetal androgen exposure may be associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We studied 1777 mother–child pairs in the prospective Odense Child Cohort. Prenatal androgen exposure was assessed by maternal 3rd trimester testosterone concentrations, maternal polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and 3 months offspring anogenital distance. ASD traits were assessed at age 3 years with the ASD-symptom scale of the Child Behavior Checklist for ages 1½–5 years. Maternal testosterone was positively associated with traits of ASD in boys (p < 0.05). Maternal PCOS was associated with increased offspring ASD traits (p = 0.046), but became non-significant after excluding parental psychiatric diagnosis. Offspring anogenital distance was not linked to ASD traits. Higher prevalence of ASD in boys could be linked to higher susceptibility to fetal androgen exposure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1053-1065
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Autism spectrum
  • Birth cohort
  • Prenatal
  • Testosterone
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Child, Preschool
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Androgens
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome/complications


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