BBH2: Male and female infertility as a precursor of chronic disease and mortality

This study is a register based project that draws on several different Danish and Swedish national register. It is managed by Dep. of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Bispebjerg Hospital in collaboration with University of Copenhagen, University College London and Dep. Reproductive Medicine at Malmø University Hospital.

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the long-term negative impacts of infertility on health. There is, however, limited data examining the long-term adverse health outcomes of early life infertility in male and especially female morbidity and mortality. It has been hypothesized that diseases associated with infertility include diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, endocrine disorders, and breast-, gynecological- and testicular-cancer.

The aim of this study is to investigate, whether male and female infertility in the younger years is a precursor for the development of many different diseases i.e. inflammatory or cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers like testicular, ovarian, breast or prostate.

The Danish and Swedish registers serve a unique opportunity to perform huge register based surveys, where extensive cohorts like the 140.000 men and women included in the National Danish and Swedish IVF Cohort can be followed over many years. Based on the unique CPR number, individuals can be tracked in many other disease-based registers. Outcomes like morbidity or mortality from different diseases can be matched for this cohort with an external reference of age and sex matched individuals from the normal background population. If sudden outcomes are overrepresented in the IVF based population compared to the reference population, it may indicate a causal relation between infertility and a specific disease.

This study can elucidate new disease mechanisms that explain how pathological and probably genetic changes that lead to male or female infertility also play a disease modulating central role later in life.

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