Epilepsy and febrile seizures in children of treated and untreated subfertile couples

Hum Reprod. 2007 Jan;22(1):215-20. doi: 10.1093/humrep/del333. Epub 2006 Aug 26.


Background: Only few studies have addressed the long-term neurological outcomes of children born by subfertile couples. We studied the risk of epilepsy and febrile seizures in children of treated and untreated subfertile couples.

Methods: The study included 83 194 live singletons born by mothers who took part in the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC). Information on time to pregnancy (TTP) and infertility treatment was reported by the mothers in computer-assisted telephone interviews. Data on epilepsy and febrile seizures were extracted from the Danish National Hospital Register.

Results: Overall, children of subfertile couples (TTP > 12 months) had a 51% higher risk of epilepsy [incidence rate ratio (IRR): 1.51; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.17-1.94] compared with children of couples with a TTP of 0-5 months. The corresponding estimates were 1.71 (95% CI: 1.21-2.42) if the couples had received infertility treatment and 1.38 (95% CI: 1.00-1.89) if they conceived spontaneously. Children of subfertile couples did not have a higher risk of febrile seizures except for those who received hormonal treatment (HT) with or without intrauterine insemination (IRR = 1.37; 95% CI: 1.14-1.66).

Conclusions: Children of subfertile couples had a slightly increased risk of epilepsy, and the risk tended to be higher for children of couples who received infertility treatment. Whether this reflects side effects of treatment or severity of subfecundity is not known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / adverse effects*
  • Seizures, Febrile / epidemiology*