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Fertility Reduced in Individuals with Childhood-Onset Type 1 Diabetes

Offspring count higher for unaffected siblings, adult-onset type 1 patients….

The Finnish researchers assessed fertility, defined as number of offspring, in the affected and unaffected siblings included in the T1DGC.

Clinical information was collected from participants aged ≥18 years at the time of examination. The number of offspring of affected and unaffected siblings was compared (in families including both) and the influence of birth year, disease duration and age of onset was assessed, the last in affected siblings only, using Poisson regression models.

A total of 3010 affected and 801 unaffected adult siblings that belonged to 1761 families were assessed. The mean number of offspring was higher in the unaffected than in the affected individuals, and the difference between the two groups was more pronounced in women than men. Poisson regression analysis showed that both sex and birth cohort significantly affected the differences between groups. In the affected siblings, adult onset (≥18 years), female sex and older birth cohort were associated with higher fertility.

The researchers concluded that patients with type 1 diabetes have fewer children than their unaffected siblings. This effect is more evident in women and in older birth cohorts. Onset of type 1 diabetes as an adult rather than a child is associated with a higher number of offspring, even after accounting for birth cohort and disease duration.

Practice Pearls:

  • A total of 3010 participants with diabetes and 801 without diabetes were assessed
  • Onset of type 1 diabetes as an adult rather than a child is associated with a high number of offspring.
  • Patients with type 1 diabetes have fewer children than their unaffected siblings.

Wiebe J, Santana A, Medina-Rodriguez N, Hernandez M, et al. “Fertility is reduced in women and in men with type 1 diabetes: results from the type 1 diabetes genetics consortium (T1DGC).” Diabetologia. September 14, 2014.