Children born to older men have a higher risk of childhood cancers, birth defects and psychiatric disorders.
Women are often cautioned about waiting too long to have children. Your biological clock is ticking their told, and having a child after 40 is risky. The child has an increased risk of complications, and it’s too hard on a woman’s body.
As it turns out, tricky health in a baby born to an older woman isn’t always caused by just mom, though. The father’s age plays a significant role, as well.
A study done at Rutgers University has shown that men have a biological clock and the older they are, the more it can affect the health of the unborn child, as well as their partner.
In a doomsday list of problems potentially caused by older fathers, researchers found that men aged 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put their partners at risk for suffering from gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth.
When it comes to the child, infants born to older fathers have a higher risk of premature birth, late stillbirth, low Apgar scores and low birth weight.
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They also have a higher incidence of newborn seizures, birth defects such as cleft palate and congenital heart disease, and experience an increased likelihood of developing childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders and autism.
Researchers in the study advised that if you’re a man planning on delaying fatherhood, you might be cautious. Consider banking your sperm before your 35th birthday, or at the very least, by the time you turn 45.
“In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with aging,” said the study’s author Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“For example, just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose ‘fitness’ over the life cycle.”
According to a post on NPR.com, twice as many dads of newborns in the U.S are now 40 years and older, compared to new dads in the 1970s.