Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_93910

Childlessness resulting from failed IVF is asssociated with decreased lifespan

10 December 2012
Appeared in BioNews 685

Couples seeking IVF treatment who do not eventually conceive or adopt are more likely to die early, claim scientists.

'Mindful that association is not causation, our results suggest that the mortality rates are higher in the childless', writes lead author of the study Professor Esben Agerbo of Aarhus University, Denmark.

The study analysed data from population registers for 21,000 Danish couples seeking IVF and found women who remained childless were four times more likely to die early compared with women who did conceive. Similarly, men who did not conceive were twice as likely to die early compared to those men who went on to have children. The early deaths were due to circulatory disease, cancer and accidents. However it should be noted that the total number of deaths recorded were low, at 316.

Confounding factors have been suggested to explain the link between involuntary childlessness and early death, as consult psychologist Ingrid Collins, who was not involved in the study, explained to the BBC:

'People having IVF tend to be desperate for a child, if they are unsuccessful they may be depressed - it may even be this rather than childlessness that is playing a part. One can only guess'.

The study authors stressed that the association between childlessness and early death may be affected by undiagnosed health issues, which increase both the risk of infertility and early death. Other variables suggested to affect the results of the study include age, income, education and marital breakup. For example; wealthy couples who are more likely to live longer, are also more likely to conceive as they can afford a greater number of IVF treatments than couples of a lower income.

Collins highlighted that: 'This is a very specific situation of people who are trying to have children - the study's findings cannot be used to generalise across the whole general population'.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Childless couples have higher risk of dying prematurely but adopting may reduce chances of an early death
Mail Online |  6 December 2012
Childless couples who wanted kids 'die younger'
NHS Choices |  6 December 2012
Childlessness 'may increase likelihood of early death'
BBC News |  6 December 2012
Childlessness, parental mortality and psychiatric illness: a natural experiment based on in vitro fertility treatment and adoption
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health |  5 December 2012
Death rate 2 to 4 times as high among childless couples
EurekAlert (press release) |  5 December 2012
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
21 January 2013 - by Cathy Holding 
Women who conceive using IVF are at a higher risk of lethal blood clots during pregnancy compared to women who conceive naturally...
17 September 2012 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The eggs of women undergoing IVF are significantly more likely to contain chromosomal abnormalities if the woman is severely obese than eggs belonging to women who are of a healthy weight, a recent US study suggests...
30 April 2012 - by Annabel Christie 
Following the investigation of abortion clinics, fertility clinics should now improve their procedures so that there are no unwanted surprises if they are similarly inspected...
28 November 2011 - by Nicola Drury 
An increasing number of NHS clinics that provide assisted reproduction technologies (ART) are denying treatment to women who smoke or have a partner who smokes. But is it appropriate for any lifestyle factors to be used to deny state-funded treatment? And where should the line be drawn between medical 'advice' and 'restrictions'?...
23 August 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
Involuntary childlessness may have a bigger negative impact on peoples' lives than previously thought. A researcher studying couples who unsuccessfully underwent IVF treatment say these people had a lower quality of life than couples with children...
2 August 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
A couple who spent more than £100,000 on IVF treatment have had a baby on the eighth attempt. Sarah Francis, 33, and husband Darren, 38, were told that they couldn't have children...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.