People who have children are less likely to die of heart-related problems, claims a new study, suggesting that infertility may be a potential early warning sign of future heart trouble in men.

In a decade-long US study of 135,000 men, researchers at Stanford University in California found that those who remained childless had a higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who “sowed their oats".

Daddy cool: Being a father is good for the heart.

Dr Eisenberg said men who are infertile have a higher risk of certain cancers, and his team wanted to look for other signs that infertility might be playing a role later in a man’s life. The researchers, who reported their study in the journal Human Reproduction, followed men who were retired and over 50 for a decade.

They restricted the list to men who were either married or had been married because they wanted to compare males who had the intent and opportunity to have children.

Men with previous underlying diseases, such as stroke, heart disease or some related condition, were excluded. Hence, the men on the list started off in relatively good health.

Over the course of the 10-year follow-up period, some 10% of the men died, and one out of every five of these deaths was from heart disease.

When looking at the parental status of these men, those who were childless were found to have an about 17% higher risk of heart disease than those who were fathers. PTI

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