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Male patients with inflammatory joint diseases are less likely than controls to be childless: results from a Norwegian population-based cohort study of 10 865 patients
  1. Gudrun David Sigmo1,
  2. Solveig Hauge2,
  3. Karl Ove Hufthammer3,
  4. Marianne Wallenius4,5,
  5. Kjell Åsmund Salvesen6,7,
  6. Anne Kjersti Nesje Daltveit8,9,
  7. Gunnstein Bakland10,11,
  8. Bjorg-Tilde Svanes Fevang2,12
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  3. 3 Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  4. 4 Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  5. 5 The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases, St Olavs Hospital Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  6. 6 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St Olavs Hospital Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  7. 7 Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  8. 8 Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  9. 9 Medical Birth Registry, Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  10. 10 Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital of Northern Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  11. 11 Department of Rheumatology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
  12. 12 Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gudrun David Sigmo, Department of Rheumatology, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger 4011, Norway; gudrun.david.sigmo{at}sus.no

Abstract

Objectives To investigate the number of children per man and the proportion of childless men as a proxy of fertility in a national cohort of men with inflammatory joint diseases (IJDs), compared with matched controls from the general population.

Methods This is a nationwide, population-based retrospective cohort study. Male patients with IJDs (n = 10 865) in the Norwegian Arthritis Registry were individually matched 1:5 on birth year and county of residence with men without IJDs obtained from the National Population Register (n = 54 325). Birth data were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. We compared the mean number of children per man and the proportion of childless men and analysed the impact of age and year of diagnosis.

Results The mean number of children per man in the patient group was 1.80 versus 1.69 in the comparison group (p <0.001), and 21% of the patients in the patient group were childless versus 27% in the comparison group (p <0.001). The finding of less childlessness and higher number of children per man remained consistent across age at diagnosis, except for those diagnosed at age 0–19 years. The difference in childlessness was most pronounced for men diagnosed after year 2000, especially when diagnosed at 30–39 years of age (22% vs 32%, p<0.001).

Conclusion In this large cohort study we found that patients with IJD have a higher number of children and are less likely to be childless compared with controls. Factors associated with developing or having an IJD might influence fertility and this requires further investigation.

  • Epidemiology
  • Arthritis
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The data that support the findings of this study are available in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway and the Norwegian Arthritis Registry:The Norwegian Arthritis Registry - NorArthritis - Helse Bergen (helse-bergen.no) Medical Birth Registry of Norway - NIPH (fhi.no).

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Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. The data that support the findings of this study are available in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway and the Norwegian Arthritis Registry:The Norwegian Arthritis Registry - NorArthritis - Helse Bergen (helse-bergen.no) Medical Birth Registry of Norway - NIPH (fhi.no).

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors All authors meet the authorship criteria. GDS, SH, MW, GB and B-TSF all contributed to the design of the work. GDS, SH and B-TSF carried out the acquisition of data for the work. KOH, GDS, SH and B-TSF contributed to the analysis of the data, and all authors were substantial contributors to interpretation of the data. All authors have also been significant contributors to critical revision of the article for important intellectual content and gave final approval of the version to be published. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. GDS, SH and B-TSF are all guarantors and accept full responsibility for the work and the conduct of the study, had access to the data and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding This work was supported by research grants from Aslaug Anders fond, Astri og Edvard Riisøens legat, Det alminnelige medisinske forskningsfond, Pahles legat, and regional funding from Fagsenter for medisinske kvalitetsregistre i Helse Vest, all non-profit origanisations.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.