Medicina e società
1IPF Promozione della Ricerca, Dipartimento Direzione Medica Ospedaliera, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Verona
2Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche, Odontostomatologiche e Materno-Infantili, Università di Verona
3Centro Regionale per lo Screening, la Diagnosi e la Terapia delle Malattie Metaboliche Congenite ed Endocrinologiche, UOC Pediatria, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Verona
4Dipartimento di Medicina, Sezione Medicina Interna B, Università di Verona
5Clinica Pediatrica, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Ospedale Universitario di Udine
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Key words: Parental age, Fertility, Pregnancy, Adverse reproductive outcomes
Age, together with sex and genetic characteristics, is traditionally classified as a non-modifiable biological factor of health condition. The promotion of reproductive health finds in parental age an important determinant that can affect fertility, pregnancy and child health. In women age plays a key role on reproductive capacity, with a fertility rate that is maximum between 20 and 30 years, decreases after 35 years and is close to zero some years before menopause. As paternal age increases, the sperm count, motility and quality decrease, enhancing the possibility of couple’s infertility. Moreover, also the probabilities of miscarriage and pregnancy complications increase. Unlike maternal age, the paternal one seems to play a significant but less marked role and its effects on infertility and adverse productive outcomes become evident after 50 years of age. In 2015 in Italy, considering only Italian citizens, women on average gave birth to 1.28 children, at an average age of 32.2 years. An active offer of information by health care professionals about the role played by age can help support a conscious choice of the couple also in this context.
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