Celiac.com 04/20/2011 - To follow up on research suggesting that men with celiac disease have impaired sperm quality, a team of researchers recently set out to examine fertility in men with biopsy-verified celiac disease.
The study included 7,121 men from a national Swedish population-based cohort. All of the men had celiac disease, as defined according to duodenal-jejunal biopsy data with the presence of Marsh III villous atrophy.
The study followed men born between 1914 and 1990 until they turned 54, or until the study ended in 2008, whichever came first.
Using multinomial logistic regression and Cox regression, the researchers calculated the number of children each man had fathered, and when those children were born relative to his celiac diagnosis. The team compared the estimated fertility of the study group against data from 31,677 age-matched reference male control subjects.
Across the board, for every given time span, both before and after celiac disease diagnosis, men with celiac disease showed no higher rates of infertility. In fact, men with celiac disease fathered children at the same rate as these without, and showed similar rates for not fathering children.
At the end of the study, men with celiac disease had 9,935 children compared with 42,245 among controls. About 35 percent of men with and without celiac disease had no children.
Adjusting for age, time period, and parity and stratifying by education, men with biopsy-verified celiac disease showed an overall fertility hazard ratio of 1.02 (95% confidence interval, 0.99–1.04).
So, overall, this study found normal fertility rates in men with diagnosed celiac disease compared to those without.
Because the team studied only Swedish-born men still living in Sweden as adults, the authors note that the data may not apply to all men. However, the large study population makes the results more convincing.
It's important to remember that this study covers male fertility, and that several studies have shown that women with celiac disease do suffer reproductive and/or fertility issues at higher rates than women without celiac disease.