Paternal age and preterm birth

Epidemiology. 2005 Mar;16(2):259-62. doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000152526.63279.da.


Background: There is growing evidence that advanced paternal age can be a reproductive hazard.

Methods: We studied couples and their first children using nationwide registers in Denmark between 1980 and 1996. We restricted the analysis to mother's age 20-29 years. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) of preterm (< 37 weeks gestation) and very preterm birth (< 32 weeks) as a function of paternal age using logistic regression to adjust for potential confounding variables.

Results: The risk of preterm birth increased with paternal age, almost entirely resulting from an association for very preterm birth. Compared with fathers age 20-24 years, ORs for very preterm birth were 1.3 (age 25-29), 1.4 (age 35-39), 1.7 (age 40-44), 1.6 (age 45-49), and 2.1 (age 50+) (test for trend: P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Risk of very preterm birth increases among older fathers, perhaps as a result of a paternal placental effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paternal Age*
  • Premature Birth / etiology*
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors