Parental infertility and offspring cardiometabolic trajectories: a pooled analysis of three European cohorts

Álvaro Hernáez, Ahmed Elhakeem, Henrique Barros, Tanja G.M. Vrijkotte, Abigail Fraser, Deborah A. Lawlor, Maria C. Magnus

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To assess whether parental infertility is associated with differences in cardiometabolic trajectories in offspring. Design: Pooled observational analysis in three prospective cohorts. Setting: Three nationwide pregnancy cohorts. Patients: A total of 14,609 singletons from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, the Portuguese Geraçao 21, and the Amsterdam Born Children and Their Development study. Each cohort contributed data up to ages 26, 12, and 13 years, respectively. Intervention: Parental infertility is defined as time-to-pregnancy of ≥12 months (n = 1,392, 9.5%). Main Outcome Measures: Trajectories of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level, triglycerides level, and glucose level were compared in the offspring of couples with and without infertility. Trajectories were modeled using mixed-effects models with natural cubic splines adjusting for cohort, sex of the offspring, and maternal factors (age, BMI, smoking, educational level, parity, and ethnicity). Predicted levels of cardiometabolic traits up to 25 years of age were compared with parental infertility. Results: Offspring of couples with infertility had increasingly higher BMI (difference in mean predicted levels by age 25 years: 1.09 kg/m2, 95% confidence interval [0.68–1.50]) and suggestively higher diastolic blood pressure at age 25 years (1.21 mmHg [−0.003 to 2.43]). Their LDL-C tended to be higher, and their HDL-C values tended to be lower over time (age: 25 years, LDL-C: 4.07% [−0.79 to 8.93]; HDL-C: −2.78% [−6.99 to 1.43]). At age 17 years, offspring of couples with infertility had higher waist circumference (1.05 cm [0.11–1.99]) and systolic blood pressure (age: 17 years; 0.93 mmHg [0.044–1.81]), but these differences attenuated at later ages. No intergroup differences in triglyceride and glucose level trajectories were observed. Further adjustment for paternal age, BMI, smoking, and educational level, and both parents’ histories of diabetes and hypertension in the cohort with this information available (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) did not attenuate intergroup differences. Conclusion: Offspring of couples with infertility relative to those of fertile couples have increasingly higher BMI over the years, suggestively higher blood pressure levels, and tend to have greater values of LDL-C and lower values of HDL-C with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-863
Number of pages11
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • cardiometabolic
  • Infertility
  • offspring
  • trajectories


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