Paternal age and first trimester placental size and growth: The Rotterdam Periconceptional Cohort

Placenta. 2024 May:150:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2024.03.009. Epub 2024 Mar 21.


Introduction: Despite a noticeable trend of delayed fatherhood, less is known about the impact of paternal age on the paternally programmed placenta. We hypothesize that paternal aging affects seminal quality and as such induces ageing-related epigenetic alterations that influence placental growth. Our main aim is to investigate associations between paternal age and first trimester (vascular) placental growth trajectories.

Methods: Pregnant women were enrolled before 10 weeks of gestation in the Rotterdam Periconceptional Cohort (Predict study). Placental volumes (PV) and utero-placental vascular volumes (uPVV) were measured at 7, 9, and 11 weeks gestation. Associations between paternal age and PV and uPVV were investigated using linear mixed models and the maximum likelihood ratio test to test non-linear relationships. We adjusted for gestational age, fetal sex, parental smoking and maternal age, BMI, education and parity, and stratified for conception mode.

Results: From 808 pregnancies we obtained 1313 PV and from 183 pregnancies 345 uPVV measurements. We show no associations between paternal age and PV (p = 0.934) and uPVV (p = 0.489) in our total population or in pregnancies conceived naturally (PV p = 0.166; uPVV p = 0.446) and after IVF/ICSI (PV p = 0.909; uPVV p = 0.749). For example, PV was 0.9% smaller (95% CI -5.7%-7.1%) in fathers aged 40 compared to 30 years old at 9 weeks gestation in the total study population.

Discussion: We are not demonstrating a significant impact of paternal age on first trimester placental growth in a tertiary care population. Given the trend of increasing paternal age, our study should be repeated in the general population.

Keywords: Aging; Development; Pregnancy; Semen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Organ Size
  • Paternal Age*
  • Placenta* / anatomy & histology
  • Placentation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*