University of Oulu

Laru, J., Ojaniemi, M., Franks, S., Järvelin, M.-R., Korhonen, E., Piltonen, T. T., Sebert, S., Tapanainen, J. S., & Morin-Papunen, L. (2022). An optimal growth pattern during pregnancy and early childhood associates with better fertility in men. European Journal of Endocrinology, 187(6), 847–858.

An optimal growth pattern during pregnancy and early childhood associates with better fertility in men

Saved in:
Author: Laru, Johanna1; Ojaniemi, Marja2; Franks, Stephen3;
Organizations: 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Medical Research Center, PEDEGO Research Unit, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Children and Adolescents, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Medical Research Center, PEDEGO Research Unit, Oulu, Finland
3Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College London, London, UK
4Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University, London, UK
6Unit of Primary Health Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
8Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Bioscientifica, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-02


Objective: To evaluate the association between birth weight (BW), childhood and adolescent BMI, with reproductive capacity in men.

Design: A prospective, population-based cohort study (Northern Finland birth cohort 1966).

Methods: 6196 men born in 1966 followed from birth to age 50 years. Weight and height were measured repeatedly by professionals. Reproductive capacity (infertility assessment, male factor infertility and infertility treatment by age 46 years) was evaluated by questionnaires at ages 31 and 46 years. Number of children by age 50 years was recovered from registers. After excluding the men who reported never having attempted to have children or not answering the question at age 31 or 46 years (n=2041), 4128 men were included into the final study population. Results were adjusted for BW, BW for gestational age (GA), mother’s smoking status, marital status, educational level and smoking status.

Results: Being small for GA (10.5% vs.8.2%, p=0.012) or having a lower BW (3495g vs.3548g, p=0.003) associated with childlessness. The association was however no longer significant after adjusting for marital status. Being underweight in early childhood was associated with an increased risk of infertility assessment (adjusted, aOR:2.04(1.07‐3.81)) and childlessness (aOR:1.47(1.01‐2.17)) compared to the normal weight group. Conversely, overweight or obesity in early childhood was associated with a decreased risk of infertility assessment (aOR:0.60(0.41‐0.87)), treatment (aOR:0.42(0.25‐0.70)) and male factor infertility (aOR:0.45(0.21‐0.97)). BMI in mid-childhood or puberty had no association with infertility or childlessness.

Conclusion: In boys, an optimal growth trajectory during pregnancy and during early childhood seems to be very important for life-long fertility.

see all

Series: European journal of endocrinology
ISSN: 0804-4643
ISSN-E: 1479-683X
ISSN-L: 0804-4643
Volume: 187
Issue: 6
Pages: 847 - 858
DOI: 10.1530/EJE-22-0385
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 65354, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 2/97, 8/97, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs Grant no. 23/251/97, 160/97, 190/97, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki Grant no. 54121, Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland Grant no. 50621, 54231. Researches own funding: The Finnish Medical Foundation, the North Ostrobothnia Regional Fund, the Academy of Finland (project grants 315921, 104781, 120315, 129269,1114194, 24300796, 321763, 268336), Center of Excellence in Complex Disease Genetics and SALVE, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Biocenter Oulu, University Hospital Oulu and University of Oulu (75617), Jalmari ja Rauha Ahokkaan säätiö ̈, The Finnish Medical Foundation, Medical Research Center Oulu, National Institute for Health Research (UK), The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (under Grant agreement no. 633595 for the DynaHEALTH action and GA 733206 for LifeCycle).
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
(733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 315921
Detailed Information: 315921 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
120315 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
129269 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
114194 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
321763 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
268336 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 The authors. Published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.