Maternal Bereavement and Cryptorchidism in Offspring

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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

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