A new study has shown men diagnosed with arthritis before or during their most fertile years could struggle to conceive
The findings have shown that inflammatory arthritis is linked to men fathering fewer children, fertility issues, and poor sperm quality.
Researchers compared the fertility rate or the number of children per man, among men diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis based on their age at diagnosis; 30 or under, 30 to 40, and 40 plus.
Data was taken from 1841 participants from eight different hospitals across the Netherlands between September 2019 and January 2021.
Researchers compared the total number of pregnancies for each of the participants, the desired family size, the proportion of childless men, and the results of medical assessments for fertility issues.
Additional influences were taken into consideration including age, history of cardiovascular disease, and educational attainment, for those diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis before the age of 30 had significantly fewer children than the men in the other two groups.
In the Netherlands, one in five people are childless, and within the groups researched 143 of the participants were childless, with around two-thirds of those being voluntarily childless.
Among the voluntarily childless, the statement: ‘My disease reduced my desire to have children was graded higher by men diagnosed at the youngest age than those in the other two age groups.
Researchers said in the study: “The difference between the desired and final number of children was significantly larger in men diagnosed before and during the reproductive years, indicating that the lower fertility rates are primarily affected by reduced fertility potential and not by a reduced desire for parenthood.”
They concluded that this study was observational and no cause could be established.