Settling down at the age of 20 is something we see less and less. Nowadays we tinder and party until we are 30 and then we look when we start with children.
If that’s the kind of life you envision, then we have some bad news. A new study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that men over the age of 35 had a higher risk of adverse outcomes for the baby. This includes low birth weight, seizures, and the need for ventilation immediately after birth.
The data working in the past ten years was obtained from live birth studies in the United States. The results go so far as to suggest that a father’s age could compromise maternal health during pregnancy due to an increased risk of diabetes.
“Having a healthy baby is a team sport and the age of the father also contributes to the baby’s health”
“We tend to look at maternal factors when evaluating the associated birth risks. But this study shows that having a healthy baby is a team sport and the age of the father also contributes to the health of the baby, “explained Michael Eisenberg, MD, an associate professor of urology and a member of the Stanford Child Health Research Institute.
The study’s conclusion was compiled from data obtained from over 40 million births. In general, the researchers suggest that the older the father, the greater the risk. Those who have children aged 45 or more were 14 percent more likely to have a preterm child. And the news got worse as men got older. Fathers aged 50+ were 28 percent more likely to have neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care.
For every year a man ages, his sperm DNA will see an average of two new mutations. However, there is some respite for older men looking to conceive. Dr. Eisenberg says men don’t have to revise their life plans, because these risks are still relatively low.
“If you buy two lottery tickets instead of one, your chances of winning are doubled. So then it increases by 100 percent,” Dr. Eisenberg.
“But that is a relative increase. Since your chance of winning the lottery is very small, it is still unlikely that you will win the lottery. This is a very extreme example, but the same concept can be applied to how you think about these birth risks “.