According to a new research study, having children may mean individuals will live longer than childless couples.
The research which was undertaken by a team of sociologists, psychologists and economists in Denmark have examined records of over 21,000 couples who have had IVF in years between 1994 and 2005.
In total, 15,210 children were born and 1564 were adopted in the nine years. The life expectancy was then compared to the couples who were unable to conceive and did not become parents.
The analysis found that early death rate in men was doubled if they did not have children. Similarly, women were four times more likely to die early from circulatory disease, cancers, and accidents if they did not have children. Women who had adopted children were twice as likely to die early compared to women who conceived.
Researchers also looked at levels of psychological illness, they found that adoptive parents were found to be the least likely to suffer from mental illness, this may have been due to the rigorous screening procedure that has to be completed before adopting a child.
Rather than taking from this research that if an individual doesn’t have children, they will die sooner than parents, it may be more beneficial to identify the reasons why a parent may live longer than a childless individual. For example, parents may greater levels of physical activity and more social interaction.