The relationship between Caesarean section and subfertility in a population-based sample of 14 541 pregnancies

Hum Reprod. 2002 Jul;17(7):1914-7. doi: 10.1093/humrep/17.7.1914.


Background: There has been a threefold increase in the rate of Caesarean section over the past 25 years. The long-term consequences of Caesarean section may include subsequent subfertility.

Methods: We investigated the relationship between Caesarean section and subfertility within a cohort of 14 541 pregnant women.

Results: A history of previous Caesarean section was associated with an increased risk of taking >1 year to conceive from the time of planning a pregnancy, adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.53 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09, 2.14]. This association was stronger for women of parity > or =2, adjusted OR 2.97 (95% CI 1.72, 5.10). Nulliparous women with a history of subfertility were at increased risk of delivery by Caesarean section, adjusted OR 1.56 (1.22, 2.00) and OR 2.33 (1.64, 3.30) for durations of >1 and >3 years respectively.

Conclusions: These findings suggest a complex relationship between Caesarean section and subfertility where subfertility may both precede and be a consequence of Caesarean section.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors