Maternal Bereavement and Cryptorchidism in Offspring

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Cryptorchidism (undescended testis) is a common anomaly with largely unexplained etiology. Animal studies have suggested maternal emotional stress as a potential risk factor, but this has not been studied in humans. We aimed to investigate whether maternal bereavement due to the death of a close relative in the antenatal period increases the occurrence of cryptorchidism in the offspring.


In a population-based cohort, we studied death of a close relative as the exposure and cryptorchidism entries in nationwide medical registries as the outcome. Danish national registries included 898,961 (23,609 exposed) boys born from 1978 to 2008 with a maximum of 30 years of follow-up.


A total of 20,947 boys had cryptorchidism, of whom 13,524 also underwent corrective surgery. We found no increased occurrence of cryptorchidism in the offspring (hazard ratio = 1.02 [95% confidence interval = 0.92–1.14]). Results were similar when the diagnosis was verified with surgery. We adjusted for maternal and paternal age, birth year, and family history of cryptorchidism.


We observed no association between maternal bereavement before and during pregnancy and the occurrence of cryptorchidism in the offspring.

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