Definitive childlessness in women with multiple sclerosis: a multicenter study

Diana Ferraro, Anna Maria Simone, Giorgia Adani, Francesca Vitetta, Claudia Mauri, Silvia Strumia, Caterina Senesi, Erica Curti, Eleonora Baldi, Mario Santangelo, Sara Montepietra, Paolo Immovilli, Angelica Guareschi, Walter Neri, Franco Granella, Luisa Caniatti, Maria Rosaria Tola, Luisa Motti, Ilaria Pesci, Enrico MontanariPatrizia Sola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The frequency of definitive childlessness in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be higher than in the general population. MS may also affect decisions on the delivery procedure and on breast-feeding issues. Aim of the study was to assess the frequency of childlessness and its possible causes, the proportion of cesarean deliveries (CD), and the frequency of breast-feeding in patients and controls who have reached the end of their reproductive period. Female MS patients (>43 years) and controls (>45 years) filled out a questionnaire. We enrolled 303 patients and 500 controls. MS was associated with a higher frequency of childlessness (22 vs 13%) and less patients were in a stable relationship (83 vs 89%). There was no difference in the reported rates of infertility and miscarriages, while elective abortions were more frequent in patients (20 vs 12%). MS did not significantly affect the frequency of CD or of breast-feeding. MS-related reasons for childlessness, reported by 16% of childless patients, included disability/fear of future disability, fear of genetically transmitting MS, fear of not starting/discontinuing treatments, and discouragement by physician. Definitive childlessness is more frequent in women with MS compared to controls. A portion of voluntary childlessness may be avoided through correct/tailored information to patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-1459
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Breast-feeding
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Childlessness
  • Fertility
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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