Background Systemiclupus erythematosus(SLE)often affects women in their reproductive years. SLE has impact on their family size and planning, in addition to physical health.
Objectives To determine factors affecting family size and family planning decisions among Korean women with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Methods A case-control study comparing childbearing history and decisions of 112 SLE patients and 135 controls was performed. Data was collected through a survey with an existing cohort of women with SLE between ages of 18-45, who are/were married or living with a partner and matching controls. We assessed impact of SLE on pregnancy and family size, and factors influencing childbearing decisions.
Results More women with SLE reported at least one pregnancy (85.7% vs 71.9%, p=0.009) or at least one live birth (85.7% vs 71. 8%, p=0.003) compared with controls; however, mean number of live birth was significantly lower in women with SLE (1.2±0.8 vs 1.6±0.8, p <0.001). Women diagnosed with SLE before the first child was born had the fewest children (p<0.001). Problems of decreased sexual interest (p=0.035) and menstrual irregularity (p<0.0001) were more common among SLE patients. Significantly more women with SLE made decision not to have children compared with controls (54.5% vs 40.7%, p=0.031), and SLE itself was the major cause of the decision. Socio-behavioral factors commonly influencing the childbearing decisions in controls such as woman’s and husband’s family size, drinking, decreased sexual interest, and amenorrhea did not have any influence on childbearing decisions in women with SLE.
Conclusions The disease had significant impact on family size and family planning decisions among Korean women with SLE.
Acknowledgements The study was supported by a grant of the Korean Healthcare R&D project (A080588)
Disclosure of Interest None Declared