As adults, our health can be influenced by a range of lifestyle and environmental factors, increasing the risk for developing a series of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Over the past few decades, our understanding of how our adult health can be shaped by events occurring before birth has developed into a well-supported concept, the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Supported by epidemiological data and experimental studies, specific mechanisms have been defined linking environmental perturbations, disrupted fetal and neonatal development and adult ill-health. Originally, such studies focused on the significance of poor maternal health during pregnancy. However, the role of the father in directing the development and well-being of his offspring has come into recent focus. Whereas these studies identify the individual role of each parent in shaping the long-term health of their offspring, few studies have explored the combined influences of both parents on offspring well-being. Such understanding is necessary as parental influences on offspring development extend beyond the direct genetic contributions from the sperm and oocyte. This article reviews our current understanding of the parental contribution to offspring health, exploring some of the mechanisms linking parental well-being with gamete quality, embryo development and offspring health.
Batra, V., Norman, E., Morgan, H. L., & Watkins, A. J. (2022). Parental Programming of Offspring Health: The Intricate Interplay between Diet, Environment, Reproduction and Development. Biomolecules, 12(9), Article 1289. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12091289