Helminth infection, fecundity, and age of first pregnancy in women

Aaron D. Blackwell, Marilyne A. Tamayo, Bret Beheim, Benjamin Trumble, Jonathan Stieglitz, Paul L. Hooper, Melanie Martin, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infection with intestinal helminths results in immunological changes that influence co-infections, and might influence fecundity by inducing immunological states affecting conception and pregnancy.We investigated associations between intestinal helminths and fertility in women, using 9 years of longitudinal data from 986 Bolivian forager-horticulturalists, experiencing natural fertility and 70% helminth prevalence.We found that different species of helminth are associated with contrasting effects on fecundity. Infection with roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) is associated with earlier first births and shortened interbirth intervals, whereas infection with hookworm is associated with delayed first pregnancy and extended interbirth intervals. Thus, helminths may have important effects on human fertility that reflect physiological and immunological consequences of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-972
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume350
Issue number6263
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    Blackwell, A. D., Tamayo, M. A., Beheim, B., Trumble, B., Stieglitz, J., Hooper, P. L., Martin, M., Kaplan, H., & Gurven, M. (2015). Helminth infection, fecundity, and age of first pregnancy in women. Science, 350(6263), 970-972. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aac7902