Danish researchers: ‘childlessness may be linked to early death’

Researchers in Denmark have claimed that those that are involuntarily childless are more likely to die early. The news comes via a new report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, in which experts said that the risk of early death is four times greater among childless women.

The report’s authors said, “Mindful that association is not the same thing as causation, our results suggest that the mortality rates are higher in the childless.”

Researchers analysed Danish population registrar data gathered between 1994 and 2005. The study revealed 316 early deaths among more than 21,000 couples that had sought IVF treatment. Of those, 96 were women and 220 were men.  Childless men were found to be almost twice as likely to die early than men with children, while childless women were found to be around four times more likely to pass away early.

However, critics were quick to point out that the risk of early death among childless couples still remains quite low and that the study offers little insight into the cause of the implied effect.

Consultant psychologist Ingrid Collins told the BBC, “This is a very specific situation of people who are trying to have children – the study’s findings cannot be used to generalise across the whole general population.”

She added, “People having IVF tend to be desperate for a child. If they are unsuccessful, they may be depressed- it may even be this rather than childlessness that is playing a part. One can only guess.”