Unlike women who are constantly reminded of their ticking biological clocks, men often get a free pass to become a father at any age. A woman trying to conceive in her upper 30s may feel like her fertility is constantly under scrutiny, while her older husband’s potential fertility issues can get brushed under the rug.
A recent study, however, put paternal age at the time of conception under the microscope. The study, published in JAMA Psychology, found that children born to middle-aged dads had higher rates of psychiatric and academic problems, such as autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, substance abuse problems, bipolar disorder, and suicide attempts.
The study analyzed the medical records of 2.6 million people born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001. Researchers found that when compared to 24-year old fathers, children born to 45-year old fathers were 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, 3.5 times more likely to have autism, and more than twice as likely to exhibit suicidal behavior or substance abuse issues.
The increase in risk may be due to DNA mutation in the father’s sperm. The older a man gets, the more exposure to environmental toxins he accumulates, and the more likely it is that there will be genetic mutation in his sperm.
As the average age for childbearing has been steadily increasing among both men and women, it’s important to remember that conception is a joint endeavor. This study is yet another reminder that male fertility is just as important as female fertility. Need more convincing? Take a look at our previous blog posts on improving male fertility, sperm analysis, and the fertility risks of testosterone replacement therapy.
Even though this information may seem alarming, there’s no reason to panic if you or your partner are over 40. The majority of children born to parents of any age will go on to live completely normal, healthful lives.
Instead of trying to find the fountain of youth, get serious about improving your general health and fertility today. Conceivable can help you pinpoint your specific health hurdles, drastically improve your chances of conceiving, and change your lifestyle to one that fully supports both your fertility and your overall wellbeing.