It is increasingly clear that fetal development influences subsequent life events. Since the cardiovascular risk to the possibilities of developing different diseases may be influenced by what has been experienced in the womb or shortly after leaving it. Now, a study published in the journal BMJ Open, shows that the physical characteristics of girls at birth can affect the chances of being infertile when they become older .

Specifically, the study says, a birth weight less than expected (low weight for gestational age) or smaller in size could double the risk of not being able to have children as adults.

According to the authors of the research, Linköping University (Sweden), this is the first study to link the physical characteristics at birth with subsequent infertility. They themselves recognize, however , that the study has some weaknesses , the most important being the  scarce (and biased) number of participants : 1,293 heterosexual women born in 1973 or later seeking help at clinics to become mothers.

However, the study design has a plus, common in the Nordic world, extensive population records preserved in these nations. With them, it was possible to know exactly how much each study participant had weighed at birth and thus how all participants relate the two parameters.

And what the results announced leaves no room for doubt. Women who were seeking treatment for infertility, being the female, were 2.4 times more likely to have low birth weight, defined as less than 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds. Also, they were 2.7 times more likely to have been small for their gestational age compared with those who were in the same clinic. For this reason, the authors believe that this factor must be considered in adults, especially if you consider that medical advances will increasingly make girls born with less weight able to survive .

The researchers write about the possible reasons for this association, but they have not come to any conclusion. Of course, considering the possibility that it is due to fetal growth restriction, it may affect the functionality of the reproductive organs.

However, the authors are clear in recommending performing more work in this field. ” This study is the first of its kind , so you will need to verify these possible associations to determine their nature more so” they conclude.