Advanced paternal age and the risk of spontaneous abortion: an analysis of the combined 2011–2013 and 2013–2015 National Survey of Family Growth


      Maternal and paternal age at first birth are increasing across the global population. Spontaneous abortion, one of the most common abnormal pregnancy outcomes, is known to occur more frequently with increasing maternal age. However, the relationship of advanced paternal age and spontaneous abortion is poorly understood, and previous results have yielded conflicting results.


      To examine the influence of paternal age on the risk of spontaneous abortion among singleton pregnancies conceived without assisted reproductive technologies.

      Materials and Methods

      This was a retrospective, case-control study using combined pregnancy data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011–2013 and 2013–2015 National Survey of Family Growth. Spontaneous, singleton pregnancy data from women aged 15–45 years were analyzed. Ongoing pregnancies, induced abortions, ectopic pregnancies, preterm births, and intrauterine fetal deaths were excluded. Bivariate associations of pregnancy outcome (spontaneous abortion at <20 weeks and ≤12 weeks vs. live birth at ≥37 weeks) and paternal age were determined, along with those of maternal age and selected demographic and pregnancy characteristics. Significant associations were included in a multivariable logistic regression, which accounted for multiple pregnancies derived from the same respondent.


      A total of 12,710 pregnancies from 6979 women were analyzed, consisting of 2300 (18.2%) spontaneous abortions and 10,410 (81.8%) term live births. Median maternal and paternal ages were 25 and 28 years, respectively. After adjusting for maternal age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, marital status, and pregnancy intention, pregnancies resulting in spontaneous abortions had 2.05 (95% confidence interval, 1.06–2.20) times the odds of being from a father aged 50 years or older, vs. 25–29 years of age. These relationships remained significant when defining SABs at ≤12 weeks (adjusted odds ratio, 2.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.17–4.52).


      Paternal age may increase the odds of spontaneous abortion, independent of selected factors, including demographics, pregnancy intention, and maternal age. This association was robust across several gestational age–based definitions of spontaneous abortion, even after adjustment.

      Key words

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