Friday, October 17, 2008

Does a dad's age effect a child's mental health? (sperm DNA)

Research is increasingly showing that fertility is impacted by aman's age, not just a woman's age, eggs and body. If you are awoman with the big red “OVER 35″ flag on your ob/gyn chart, youknow that you've been well-warned and tested for your risk ofconceiving a child with Down syndrome and other developmentalissues. Studies of autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and Down syndrome now show that olderfathers also carry that red flag of higher risk.
This understanding is radical because it shifts the focus (andsometimes, the blame) of fertility. Because females are born withall the eggs they will have in their lifetime and men produce spermevery 90 days, the formula's told us that women's fertility isever-decreasing while men's is always rejuvenating. Not so, sciencenow says. In fact, the quantity sperm may be produced every threemonths but the quality of the sperm does go down as men get older.While there are certainly elderly men actively making babies, somestudies have shown that it takes 8% of couples more than a year toconceive when the father is 25 or younger, but 15% of couples(almost double the rate of infertility challenge) when the fatheris 35 or older.
I was also fascinated to read that one French study reports that,among couples seeking fertility treatment, each parent's age hasequal impact on pregnancy and miscarriage. This means that theolder the parent — male or female — the lower thechances of getting pregnant at all and the higher the likelihoodthe woman will miscarry.
A final note on this new information on men's fertility: It seemsyour clocks have less hours in the day than ours. Men's fertility,it is now known, sharply decreases at the age of 24. That's sixyears before women's fertility declines.
Will this change how men and women make decisions about when toparent? Will men's attitudes align with science so that they feelfree to acknowledge their own flippy urges to reproduce morefreely? Perhaps only time — and more studies — will tell.
Are you worried about your man's fertility? Do thesenew studies take the pressure off you or just complicate conceptioneven more?Read more:
Does a dad's age effect a child's mental health?
If your man's biological clock is ticking, for zygote's sake, don'tlet him turn on the seat heaters!


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