Being born small for gestational age (SGA) is linked with an increased risk of infertility in adulthood in men, according to a new study published in Human Reproduction.
The population-based cohort study included 5,594 men and 5,342 women born in Denmark between 1984 and 1987. Information on infertility was obtained from Danish health registers from the participants’ 18th birthday up until 31 December 2017.
The study found that men born SGA had a 55 per cent higher risk of being diagnosed with or treated for infertility compared to men born appropriate for gestational age (AGA) (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.55; 95% CI 1.09-2.21). However, the association attenuated after exclusion of men born with hypospadias or cryptorchidism. There was no association between women’s birth weight and the risk of infertility.
The researchers said if SGA is causally linked to infertility, this has public health relevance. “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,” they added.