Paternal age and preeclampsia

Epidemiology. 2002 Nov;13(6):660-7. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200211000-00010.


Background: Paternal aging is associated with premeiotic damage to spermatogonia, a mechanism by which new point mutations are introduced into the gene pool. We hypothesized that paternal age might contribute to preeclampsia.

Methods: We studied the incidence of preeclampsia in 81,213 deliveries surveyed in 1964-1976 in the Jerusalem Perinatal Study. We controlled for maternal age, parity and other risk factors using logistic regression.

Results: Preeclampsia was reported in 1303 deliveries (1.6%). Compared with fathers age 25-34 years, the odds ratios (ORs) for preeclampsia were 1.24 (95% confidence interval = 1.05-1.46) for age 35-44 and 1.80 (1.40-2.31) for age 45+. For fathers age <25, the OR was 1.25 (1.04-1.51). Although weaker than maternal age effects, paternal effects were consistent within subgroups of other variables.

Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that a modest proportion of preeclampsia might be explained by new mutations acquired from fathers and add to a growing body of evidence for paternal age effects in birth defects, neuropsychiatric disease and neoplasia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Paternal Age*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / genetics
  • Pregnancy