Childlessness may increase the risk of dying early, especially among women; however, it doesn't make a big difference in their mental health, new Danish study shows.
Within a more complex research on In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Danish scientists analyzed over 21,000 couples and found that women who were unable to conceive a child were 2 to 4 times more likely to die prematurely than those who were mothers already.
However, researchers say their study shows an association between early death and childlessness, not a cause. It also reveals no increase of psychiatric illness in childless couples, Daily Mail reports.
Considering that the research involved only people who wanted to have a child and could not, scientists suggest that adoption may cut the risk of premature death, just as it decreases the risk of mental illness.
“Mindful that association is not causation, our study suggests that the mortality rates are higher in the childless,” said Esben Agerbo, Professor at the Aarhus University and head-leader of the study.
“Rates of psychiatric illness do not appear to vary with childlessness, but the rate of psychiatric illness in parents who adopt is decreased.”
Premature death in childless women is mostly caused by cancers, circulatory diseases or accidents, the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health shows.
“This is a very specific situation of people who are trying to have children - the study's findings cannot be used to generalize across the whole general population,” explained Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist and associate member of the Parliamentary Group for Integrated and Complementary Healthcare, as cited by Business Standard.
“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.”
Scientists suggest the situation subscribes to a largest condition in today's society. Having a baby is generally seen as a main life goal. Not fulfilling their goals is what brings people a bad overall health and a miserable existence.