A new study from Denmark has found that women with asthma are more likely to have used fertility treatment to get pregnant than women without asthma.
These results build on previous research that has shown that it takes women with asthma more time after they start trying to have a baby to get pregnant than other women.
The current study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, involved 3689 women. 932 of these women had asthma and were enrolled on the Management of Asthma during Pregnancy (MAP) programme at Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark.
The researchers found that, overall, 12% of women with asthma in their study had used fertility treatment to get pregnant, compared with only 8% of women who didn’t have asthma.
When the researchers investigated further, they found that the difference was much more dramatic in women aged 35 years or more. In this age group, just under 25% of women with asthma used fertility treatment to get pregnant, compared with around 13% of women who didn’t have asthma. There was no difference in women younger than 35 years.
It is not clear from this research why pregnant women with asthma would be more likely to have had fertility treatment than other pregnant women, although the researchers suggest that the difference could be due to inflammation responses in women with asthma. More research is needed to fully understand this possible link.
This study was well designed and involved a lot of participants, which means that the results are likely to reflect what goes on in the real world. However, the researchers noted that women with asthma actively volunteered to take part, whereas the women without asthma were randomly selected. This could have had an impact on the results, because people who volunteer to take part in research have been shown to be different in several ways to those who don’t actively volunteer.
Taking everything into account, the researchers suggest that women with asthma who would like to have children might want to consider having them earlier.
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