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5.6 Exploring risk factors
O5-6.3 Advanced paternal age and risk of death before the age of 5 years: a register-based cohort study
  1. A M Nybo Andersen,
  2. L N Jespersen,
  3. M Nissen,
  4. L H Mortensen
  1. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark


Introduction An association between paternal age and children's health was suggested by Penrose as early as 1955. More recently, relationships have been suggested between paternal age and specific diseases and fetal death. The association is mainly put down to the increased mutation rate in male germ cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between paternal age and under 5-year mortality.

Methods Based on data from Danish population-covering registers, we investigated the relationship between paternal age and under 5-year mortality, including cause-specific mortality, taking maternal age, parity and parental educational levels into account. A total of 1 140 689 live born children were included in the study. Cox regression models were used to estimate HRs for death during the first 5 years of life.

Results Compared with children born to fathers aged 30–34 years an excess risk was found for children born to fathers aged 45+ years (HR 1.22; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.42). When only 1–5 years olds were included the RR rose to 1.70; 95% CI 1.23 to 2.34. The excess risk for children of fathers aged 45 years or more was primarily attributed to an elevated risk of dying from congenital malformations and malignancies.

Conclusion Children with a father aged 45 years or more have an increased risk of dying before the age of 5 years. The findings are compatible with the hypothesis suggesting increased frequency of point mutations in the fertilising sperm cells from men of advanced age.

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