Nav: Home

Is there a link between infertility and child educational outcomes?

June 05, 2017

How does resolved parental infertility relate to children's performance in school?

A University of Illinois at Chicago sociologist considers this question in a sample of all Swedish births between 1988 and 1995.

Findings from the co-authored study suggest that involuntary childlessness prior to either a first or a second birth is associated with lower academic achievement-- both test scores and grade point average-- at age 16, even if the period of infertility was prior to a sibling's birth rather than the child's own.

The authors also find that infertility among parents who already have a first child, known as "secondary infertility," has negative effects on how first- and second-born children perform in school only when the family did not already experience infertility before a first birth.

"Our results suggest that we need to be thinking of infertility as a cumulative physical and social experience, with effects extending well beyond the point at which a child is ultimately born," said Amelia Branigan, the study's lead author and UIC visiting assistant professor of sociology.

Branigan and co-author Jonas Helgertz of Lund University used data from the Swedish Interdisciplinary Panel, which links multiple Swedish government registers.

Infertility is measured as the number of years that parents spent trying to conceive, reported by the mother after a baby is delivered. Grades and test scores were measured at grade 9, when children are about 16 years old.

"To our knowledge, no large U.S. data source currently includes measures of both years of infertility, as well as long-term outcomes in parents and in children ultimately born," Branigan said.

As no previous study has considered the long-term socioeconomic consequences of resolved infertility for the children ultimately conceived, Branigan emphasizes that further research is needed to determine specific mechanisms driving this relationship.

She notes that the direction of the finding is consistent with previous studies on younger children, which point to parents' experience of infertility as one likely factor connecting resolved infertility to child outcomes.

"Researchers have suggested that infertility may be a more traumatic experience for parents than is often recognized, with potential consequences on parenting even after infertility is 'resolved' by the birth of a child," Branigan said.
-end-
The study, "Resolved Parental Infertility and Children's Educational Achievement," was published online by the journal Demography and supported by Lund University's Centre for Economic Demography and the Cornell Population Center.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Infertility Articles:

Acupuncture may not be effective in treating infertility
Acupuncture, alone or with the medication clomiphene, does not appear to be effective in treating infertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to an international team of researchers.
UC biologist looks at butterflies to help solve human infertility
UC biologist helps decode the structural complexities of male butterfly ejaculate and co-evolving female reproductive tract.
Male infertility: Urogenital infection as a possible cause
In couples who have not been able to have children, male infertility is the cause in at least half of cases.
Is there a link between infertility and child educational outcomes?
Findings from study co-authored by a University of Illinois at Chicago sociologist suggest that involuntary childlessness prior to either a first or a second birth is associated with lower academic achievement -- both test scores and grade point average -- at age 16, even if the period of infertility was prior to a sibling's birth rather than the child's own.
Using a smartphone to screen for male infertility
Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to develop a home-based diagnostic test that could be used to measure semen quality using a smartphone-based device.
More Infertility News and Infertility Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.