Friday, July 11, 2008

Many Men Do Not Know That they Have A Genetic Biological Clock

Alarm rings for Peter PanBy Sarah Wilson

July 12, 2008 12:00am

IHAVE a friend who recently told his 38-year-old fiancee that he didn't want to have kids for, oh, you know, another 10 years or so.

There were so many other things he still wanted to do, he said. Like buy a dirt bike!

Did someone say "spanner in works''?

My friend - no longer with said fiance - is part of a growing phenomenon of so-called Peter Pans.
This city is apparently full of them.

The Sunday Telegraph picked up on the trend a few weeks back and the recent book The Lost Boys describes a generation of 30-something blokes living in Bondi who behave like they're 17 again and put off relationships and kids because they're having too much fun surfing and pulling bongs with the boys.

And because they can.

But Peter Pan had a wake-up call this week. According to new research from France, men, not just women, have ticking biological clocks.

After the age of 35, sperm deteriorates, resulting in higher rates of miscarriage and defects. One in three partners of men over 40 will lose a baby.

I tell you, the implications of this news are bigger than you might think.

In the sex wars, sperm has always got around in a bulletproof vest.

Declining fertility rates have been blamed on the short shelf life of female eggs; sperm has dodged the bullets.

And so men have not really joined the frontline of the issue like women have.

This has caused a huge disconnect between the sexes, particularly in the dating game.

We're all partnering and having kids much later, right.

But as women in their 30s reach the stage where they're ready to settle down with the bloke and kids, they're aware they must move fast to catch the fertility boat. (Buzz term: accelerated settling.)

But many arrive at this risky juncture only to be met with men who, fair enough, aren't ready to be rushed.

Or who've perhaps already moved on to a younger model to maybe procreate with a bit later.

Because they can. Or could.

I reckon it's an interesting time for this male biological clock issue to rear its cautionary head.

Despite all the harsh Peter Pan talk, I've noticed a pendulum swing, with men wanting to be far more involved in this modern parenthood/partnering debate.

Another mate (37, Bondi, professional bachelor) told me he doesn't want to date women half his age any more.

"I want to partner with my peers, who have the same cultural cues,'' he said.

"I guess I'm going to get my skates on.'' I mentioned previously in this column the Rad Dad phenomenon of men embracing dadhood by giving it a fashionable spin (akin to what the Yummy Mummy did to motherhood).

And a University of Queensland study this week reveals men are doing more housework than ever before.

Granted, these are random and essentialist examples, but are part of a picture commentators worldwide are picking up on.

It's a snappy use of metaphor to say that faced with a ticking biological clock, men will merely roll over, hit the snooze button and sleep through it.

And many in the media are saying it this week. But I think the alarm has already sounded.



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