advertisement
08 March 2018

First-time dads are getting older – but are there risks?

The average age has risen from 27 to 31 in the span of 43 years.

0

New dads are getting older and older these days.

Researchers at Stanford University reviewed data on 168 867 480 live births from 1972 to 2015, and found that the average age of the father of a newborn in the United States is 30.9 years old.

For comparison, the average age in 1972 was 27.4 years old.

And the United States isn’t the only country seeing this trend, the New York Times reports. In Germany, the median age of new fathers increased from 31.3 to 33.1 in the 1990s.

England saw the same thing happen as well – in 2003, dads over 35 years old accounted for 40% of all births in the country, as opposed to 25% just 10 years earlier.

Read more: 5 scary things that happen to your penis when you age

So what exactly does this mean for fathers and their newborns?

In 2016, Men’s Health reported that the average 30-year-old dad passes on about 55 genetic mutations to his offspring, and each year you age increases that number by two.

Not all of these mutations cause health problems, but some can cause trouble conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Read more: Is your sperm healthy and strong? Use this checklist to find out

There is also an increased risk of having a child with achondroplasia – a type of dwarfism – that rises from one in 15 000 to one in 1 923 once men reach age 50. And the risk of having a child with schizophrenia more than quadruples with fathers over 50 years old.

Once a guy hits 40 years old, autism rates rise from one in 1 000 to one in 174. And unfortunately, cancer rates among children also tend to rise too as their dads get older as well.

Read more: 5 ways you can make your sperm stronger right now

In fact, men who are genetically predisposed to any of these conditions are more likely to delay fatherhood, and the tendency seems to be genetically inherited by their children as well, although there is still more research to be done on this front.

But don’t let these statistics scare you into not having kids once you hit a certain age. Doctors can screen your sperm for DNA mutations, or you can go the IVF route and use a technique called reimplantation genetic diagnosis to test each embryo for genetic diseases before it’s implanted into the woman’s womb. You also can talk to a genetic counsellor to figure out the best option for you.

This article was originally published on www.menshealth.com

Image credit: iStock

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.