Influence of paternal age on perinatal outcomes

Published:August 04, 2017DOI:


      There is an increasing trend to delay childbearing to advanced parental age. Increased risks of advanced maternal age and assisted reproductive technologies are widely accepted. There are limited data regarding advanced paternal age. To adequately counsel patients on risk, more research regarding advanced paternal age is necessary.


      We sought to determine the influence of paternal age on perinatal outcomes, and to assess whether this influence differs between pregnancies achieved spontaneously and those achieved with assisted reproductive technology.

      Study Design

      A population-based retrospective cohort study of all live births in Ohio from 2006 through 2012 was completed. Data were evaluated to determine if advanced paternal age is associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancies. The analysis was stratified by status of utilization of assisted reproductive technology. Generalized linear regression models assessed the association of paternal age on pregnancy complications in assisted reproductive technology and spontaneously conceived pregnancies, after adjusting for maternal age, race, multifetal gestation, and Medicaid status, using Stata software (Stata, Release 12; StataCorp, College Station, TX).


      Paternal age was documented in 82.2% of 1,034,552 live births in Ohio during the 7-year study period. Paternal age ranged from 12-87 years, with a median of 30 (interquartile range, 26-35) years. Maternal age ranged from 11-62 years, with a median of 27 (interquartile range, 22-31) years. The use of assisted reproductive technology in live births increased as paternal age increased: 0.1% <30 years vs 2.5% >60 years, P < .001. After accounting for maternal age and other confounding risk factors, increased paternal age was not associated with a significant increase in the rate of preeclampsia, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, congenital anomaly, genetic disorder, or neonatal intensive care unit admission. The influence of paternal age on pregnancy outcomes was similar in pregnancies achieved with and without assisted reproductive technology.


      Older paternal age does not appear to pose an independent risk of adverse perinatal outcomes, in pregnancies achieved either with or without assisted reproductive technology. However, small effect sizes such as very small risk increases or decreases may not be detectable despite the large sample size in this study of >830,000 births.

      Key words

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