SAGE KE Bulletin Board

NEWS -- No Infertility Cost for Human Longevity

15 July 2004

Leonid Gavrilov


A new publication just came out, which shows that exceptional human longevity is *NOT* associated with infertility (contrary to the earlier widely publicized article published in "Nature"):

Does Exceptional Human Longevity Come With High Cost of Infertility?
Testing the Evolutionary Theories of Aging.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1019: 513-517, 2004

Full text is available online at:

Kind regards,

-- Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D.
Author of the book "The Biology of Life Span"

Medline abstract is attached below:

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Jun;1019:513-517

Does Exceptional Human Longevity Come with a High Cost of Infertility?: Testing the Evolutionary Theories of Aging.

Gavrilova NS, Gavrilov LA, Semyonova VG, Evdokushkina GN.

Center on Aging, NORC and the University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637-2745. gavrilova@longevity-

The purpose of this study is to test the prediction of the evolutionary theory of aging that human longevity comes with the cost of impaired reproductive success (higher infertility rates). Our validation study is based on the analysis of particularly reliable genealogical records for European aristocratic families using a logistic regression model with childlessness as a dependent (outcome) variable, and woman's life span, year of birth, age at marriage, husband's age at marriage, and husband's life span as independent (predictor) variables. We found that the woman's exceptional longevity did not increase her chances of being infertile. It appears that the previous reports by other authors of high infertility among long-lived women (up to 50% infertility) are related to incomplete data, that is, births of children not reported. Thus, the concept of the high cost of infertility for human longevity is not supported by the data when these data are carefully cross-checked, cleaned, and reanalyzed.

PMID: 15247077 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


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