The death rate for people who never had children was up to 4 times higher than that of biological and adoptive parents.
PROBLEM: Having a child, it's been observed, appears to lessen one's risk of premature death. Might parenthood be somehow protective, or is this just a simple case of confounding variables, where there's some factor that makes those more likely to die earlier also less likely to become parents?
- Exercise May Improve Sperm Quality
- In Macular Degeneration, iPads are Better Than Print
- Exercising With Physically Superior Partners Makes You Better -- Even if They Aren't Real
METHODOLOGY: Danish researchers turned a group of 21,276 couples undergoing IVF treatment for infertility over a 14-year period into a "natural experiment," by comparing those who ended up having children to those who did not. Over 15,000 children were eventually born the couples, while another 1500 were adopted.
RESULTS: The death rate for childless women was 4 times higher than for women who had given birth. Women who had adopted had two-thirds the likelihood of dying prematurely. The death rate was also approximately halved for both biological and adoptive fathers. When the researchers controlled for things like age, education level, and income, these differences remained significant.