Intergenerational trends in reproduction: Infertility and pregnancy loss

Andrea MF Woolner*, Siladitya Bhattacharya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This review article summarises the evidence for intergenerational trends observed to date within infertility and pregnancy loss. There appears to be evidence of intergenerational trends between mothers and daughters for the age at menopause, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), male factor infertility and miscarriage. At present, there is no evidence for a predisposition to stillbirth between mothers and daughters. One study found an association with familial predisposition for ectopic pregnancy. Very few studies have considered the potential for paternal transmission of risk of infertility or pregnancy loss. The majority of studies to date have significant limitations because of their observational design, risk of recall bias and risk of confounding. Therefore, high-quality well-designed research, with multi-centre collaboration and utilisation of registry-based data sources and individual patient data, is needed to understand whether infertility and pregnancy loss may have heritable factors. Epidemiological findings need to be followed up and investigated with translational research to determine the possible causalities as well as any implications for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102305
Number of pages14
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Ms Kelly Gray, University of Aberdeen, for her help with formatting the article.


  • Familial
  • Family history
  • Infertility
  • Intergenerational
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Reproduction


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