The study was published in Human Reproduction. (File Photo)
According to Danish researchers, boys who are born small run the risk of suffering from infertility in adulthood. According to a report in The New York Times, the researchers arrived at the result after examining birth and health records of 10,936 men and women, all of who were born between 1984 and 1987. The study, published in Human Reproduction, stated that 10 per cent of the babies were small when their gestational age was considered.
Although the mothers' health for both — giving birth to low-weight babies and normal weight — were similar, the difference occurs mostly in the case of first-time mothers and, the report states, those who smoke and consume alcohol. On controlling these factors, along with the socioeconomic status and pre-pregnancy body mass index, it was found out that "male babies who were born small were 55 per cent more likely than their normal weight peers to be infertile as adults".
Infertility, as defined by them, was seeking fertility treatment between their 18th birthdays and the end of 2017 — when they would have been in their early 30s. The same report reveals that some men were born with genital malformations. After these babies were eliminated, the men born small were 37 per cent more likely to be infertile. However, that association did not assume statistical significance. In women though there was no link between birth weight and infertility.
Anne Thorsted, a researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark where the study was conducted and lead author reasoned that the mechanism behind this association is not known yet. “It’s important to say that not all men born small for gestational age are at increased risk. We must, therefore, become clearer about what characterises those men who do experience infertility.”