Paternal Age and Preterm Birth in Italy, 1990 to 1998

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Background:Advanced paternal age has been reported to impair pregnancy outcome. Here, we investigated the association of advanced paternal age with preterm birth by using a very large national data set.Methods:We analyzed data from 1990 to 1998 on Italian firstborn singletons to mothers 20–24 and 25–29 years of age (n = 1,510,823). Odds ratios for overall preterm (<37 weeks’ gestation), very preterm (<32 weeks), and moderate preterm (32–36 weeks) births were evaluated through logistic regression models in paternal age classes (20–24, 25–29, 30–34, 35–39, 40–44, 45–49, 50+ years) after adjustment for confounders. Nonparametric regression models were used to fit the effect of paternal ageing on the incidence of very preterm births.Results:Odds ratios increased with paternal age more rapidly for very preterm than for moderate preterm births; among 45- to 49-year-old fathers, odds ratios for very preterm births reached 1.91 (95% confidence interval = 1.08–3.38) and 1.72 (1.25–2.36), respectively, in 20- to 24- and 25- to 29-year-old mothers.Conclusions:This study confirms that paternal age contributes to the risk of preterm birth. The effect is stronger on very preterm births but also influences moderate preterm births.

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