Send to

Choose Destination
Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2014 Feb;100(2):79-91. doi: 10.1002/bdra.23218. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Sex prevalence of major congenital anomalies in the United Kingdom: a national population-based study and international comparison meta-analysis.

Author information

Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.



The aim of this study was to assess sex differences in major congenital anomaly (CA) diagnoses within a national population sample; to examine the influence of sociodemographic and maternal factors on these risks; and to conduct a meta-analysis using estimates from other population-based studies.


We conducted a population-based study in a United Kingdom research database of prospectively collected primary care data (The Health Improvement Network) including children born 1990 to 2009 (n = 794,169) and identified major CA diagnoses using EUROCAT (European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies) classification. Prevalence ratios (PR) were used to estimate the risk of CA in males compared with females for any CA, system-specific subgroups and specific CA diagnoses. In a subpopulation of children whose medical records were linked to their mothers', we assessed the effect of adjusting for sociodemographic and maternal factors on sex odds ratios. PRs were pooled with measures from previously published studies.


The prevalence of any CA was 307/10,000 in males (95% CI, 302-313) and 243/10,000 in females (95% CI, 238-248). Overall the risk of any CA was 26% greater in males (PR (male: female) 1.26, 95% CI, 1.23-1.30) however there was considerable variation across specific diagnoses. The magnitude and direction of risk did not change for any specific CA upon adjustment for sociodemographic and maternal factors. Our PRs were highly consistent with those from previous studies.


The overall risk of CA is greater in males than females, although this masked substantial variation by specific diagnoses. Sociodemographic and maternal factors do not appear to affect these risks.


Congenital anomalies; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Risk factors; Sex

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center