Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Searching for genetic links between fertility disorders and other health outcomes

Principal Investigator: Professor Julie Hussin
Approved Research ID: 49731
Approval date: February 18th 2020

Lay summary

It has been observed that women's symptoms of heart disease differ from those of men, and that women tend to develop it later in life than men do, but it is not fully understood why this happens. Many previous studies have shown that women who have problems with fertility and/or pregnancy are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke later in life. Additionally, the risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure, are also risk factors for fertility trouble and pregnancy complications. However, not much is known about the biology behind this connection. In fact, very little is known about the causes of fertility and pregnancy disorders in general. Our project aims to fill this knowledge gap using the genetic and health data in the UK Biobank. Over the next two years, we will determine the extent to which environmental causes contribute to the connection between heart disease and fertility, and the extent to which it is due to certain genes having an effect on both the risk of fertility problems and the risk of heart disease. We hope that by studying this connection between fertility and heart disease, we can discover new things about the biology of both sets of traits individually. This research may also provide insight into the causes of heart disease that are sex-specific, and once the connection to fertility is better understood, it may give clinicians a way of identifying people at high risk of developing heart disease when they are older to target for appropriate interventions and preventative treatments.