An increasing number of Massachusetts men are choosing to delay parenthood.There are clear scientifically-backed advantages that come with that. However, there are plenty of mental and physical health problems older Massachusetts dads may put their children at risk for, a growing amount of research shows.
Here's what fathers aging like fine wines have to look out for.
Their Babies Might Be in More Danger at Birth
The babies of older fathers have been linked increased health risks at birth, including low birth weight, seizures, and a need for ventilation immediately after birth a decade-long study out of Stanford University warns. The data, which considers over 40 million births, indicates that men roughly over the age of 35. These risks appear to become more severe with age - men who were 45 or older were 14 percent more likely to have a child born prematurely, compared to men over 50 who were 28 percent more likely. Still, the study's authors assure older parents that even with advanced paternal age, the odds having a baby with these health problems are still small.
Children of Old Dads Could Have More Mental Health Problems Later in Life
Older dads may have children who struggle with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia later in life, multiple studies suggest. However, the connection between paternal age and psychiatric illnesses has been debated, and scientists are cautious about extrapolating too much from the research. What they do know is that a vast majority of children born to older fathers are mentally healthy, but there may be an elevated risk compared to younger dads.
Older Dads Have Been Linked with an Increased Autism Risk
Scientists are similarly careful about concluding that old dads cause autism, but have found a correlation between advanced paternal age (typically above 40) and autism in several studies. Compared to men in their thirties, chances of having a child with an autism diagnosis was 28 percent higher for men in their forties and 66 percent higher for men in their fifties, according to one study on over 5.7 million children across 5 countries. Researchers suspect that aging sperm might have a number of mutations that could be passed onto the child, but this theory is still being debated and requires further study.
Old Dads May Have Smarter Sons
It's not all bad news for older dads, especially for the ones who want smart sons. Older fathers might have sons with higher IQs, superior focus, and less concern with fitting in with others, research reveals. Study authors rudely referred to this composite score as the "Geek Index" and found that geekiness was largely inherited in boys from older fathers. While some experts think this may have something to do with the link between paternal age and autism, others believe that older dads have smarter sons because they're more mature, evolved, and often intelligent caretakers themselves later in life. All the risks considered, having an older dad may be actually good for some kids - even if they are a bunch of nerds.
The Children of Old Dads Might Actually Live Longer
As many risks that might come with being an older dad, scientists out of Harvard have found that aging sperm might help to make children with longer telomeres - the tips chromosomes that are often compared to plastic tips of shoelaces and protect DNA, which has been linked with a longer lifespan. The study also found that having older grandpas increased the positive impact older dads had on their offsprings telomeres, which suggests that delayed reproduction may boost longevity when there are not other mortality risks.
Whether you are involved in a paternity or divorce case, being involved with your children should take precedence. Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour consultation to learn of your rights.