Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

It has been suggested that bearing sons increases long-term mortality in women, because sons may be more physiologically demanding to produce than daughters. In this historical cohort study in rural Bangladesh, no association between the number of sons born and mortality was seen in women in the unadjusted analyses. However, a significant reduction in mortality with the number of surviving sons was seen. In addition, after adjusting for the number of surviving sons, there was evidence of increasing mortality with the number of sons born, in women. In men, mortality also depended strongly on the number of surviving sons, but not on the number born. These data provide support for negative long-term costs of bearing sons in mothers in rural Bangladesh, and suggest that there are context-specific factors that mask the true effects of sons in some populations.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Biol Sci

Publication Date





149 - 155


Adult, Aging, Bangladesh, Cohort Studies, Family Characteristics, Female, Humans, Longevity, Male, Middle Aged, Parents, Rural Population