Children and Longevity

Posted at: 12/11/2012 3:38 PM
Updated at: 12/11/2012 3:57 PM

There is a surprising connection between children -- and longevity. There is some indication that trying and failing to have children may affect how long some people live. ABC's Senior Medical Contributor, Doctor Timothy Johnson explains in this Medical Minute.

People who can't have children may have shorter lives. A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health looked at more than 21,000 couples seeking in vitro fertility treatments.

The authors found that women who were unsuccessful in having a child were four times more likely to die prematurely from:

than women who were mothers. Men were about twice as likely to die early.

The risk of early death was very low, and a cause-and-effect relationship between being childless and early death has not been definitively proven.

However, they say their work suggests that mortality rates are higher in those who are involuntarily childless.