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Infertility Risk Increased for Men Born Small for Gestational Age

Link weakened after excluding those born with hypospadias, cryptorchidism; no link seen in women

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Men born small for gestational age (SGA) may have an increased risk for infertility in adulthood, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in Human Reproduction.

Anne Thorsted, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues analyzed data from a Danish birth cohort, including 5,594 men and 5,342 women born between 1984 and 1987. The authors sought to examine the association between being born SGA and infertility in adulthood.

The researchers found that compared with men born appropriate for gestational age, men born SGA had a significantly increased risk for being diagnosed with or treated for infertility (adjusted odds ratio, 1.55; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.09 to 2.21). After exclusion of men born with hypospadias or cryptorchidism, the association was attenuated (odds ratio, 1.37; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 2.01). For women, the investigators observed no association between SGA and infertility risk (adjusted odds ratio, 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.37).

“Many children are born SGA, so if SGA is causally linked to infertility, this has public health relevance,” the authors write. “It is therefore important to focus on the underlying mechanisms that can explain the possible association between SGA and infertility as it allows a more targeted prevention strategy.”

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