Are you asking the question if older men have healthy children? Many women are aware of the consequences of having a child and its risks at old age. However, only a few men will realize the risk of reproduction at an advancing age. When people become parents at old age, it leads to implications for the child and women while giving birth. For the last four decades, the age at which people start settling down and become parents is rising. Many couples are marrying late and having delays in giving birth to children. However, this can lead to numerous consequences. In this article, we will discuss why you should not give birth to children at old age.
That is why experts are exploring the effect of dad’s age on the health and career of children. Journal BMJ published a study in October 2018 that men who become fathers at the ages 45 to 54 can cause risks of low birth weight and premature birth when compared to men who become fathers at ages 25 to 34.
When the child is born early, they might develop numerous and long-term mental and physical problems (Source). However, when they have low birth weight, they need to stay in the hospital for a while in the intensive care unit. In other research, experts suggest that older dads increase the risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, it may lead to children developing schizophrenia and autism.
Motility and Age of Sperm
According to a study, the motility of sperm changes with age. The motility of sperm defines how well the sperm can swim. At the age of 25, the motility of sperm is at its best, and at the age of 55, it is the lowest. For instance, if you compare the number of healthy sperm cells in men from the age of 30 to 55, you will find that the motility decreases at the rate of 54. In a study in 2019, it was found that (Source):
- Older fathers have a high rate of infertility, even if their partner is under 25.
- Men over the age of 45 will father the child having low birth weight, birth abnormalities, and low Apgar score. This means that the child will have lower health at the time of birth.
Risk of Genetic Problems
Apart from low-quality semen, the age of a man will also impact the genetic sperm quality. A study at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggests that the effect of age in men will cause genetic defects in the sperm. Sperm defects can:
- Increase the risk of stillbirth
- Increase the risk of birth defects
- Increase the chances of miscarriage
- Increase infertility
Researchers have found that older men are not at the risk of infertility, but they have a higher risk of transferring the genetic problems to their children. Furthermore, the age of men and women can also increase the birth defects in the child. For instance, the risk of Down syndrome increases when an older couple has a child.
In another study that included 3,000 children, researchers found that at age 35 or older, paternal age has a major influence. The hypothesis was correct in this situation. At the maternal age of 40 or more, the chances of the child developing Down’s syndrome are 50%. The children are not at the risk of developing Down syndrome, but other conditions also. For instance, when the father is older, the children are at the risk of developing:
- Childhood leukemia
- Bipolar disorder
- Achondroplasia, which is a kind of dwarfism.
If you are thinking about becoming a father at the age of 40 or above, you should discuss the consequences with the doctor:
- You can ask the doctor if your health conditions affect the child. For instance, if your weight, age, diet, and other health conditions will affect the child’s health.
- How lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption, smoking, and other illicit drugs will affect your fertility. Moreover, do you take any medication that can affect the health of your child?
- Do you need a semen analysis before having a child with your partner? The analysis will help you understand if you have a low sperm count or not.
- You can also ask your doctor if your age will cause any risk to the health of the newborn child. Men can produce sperm cells up until they die. But they may not necessarily have a healthy child at an older age.
Can Older Men Have Healthy Children? Consult an Experienced Urologist
If you are thinking of giving birth to a child despite your age, you can discuss the condition with top urologist Dr. Yaniv Larish. He will guide you regarding the consequences and the risk factors for giving birth to a child at your age.
Schedule an in-person or tele-appointment today at (646) 862-5500.