26 June 2011

Childhood disorders and paternal age

Excerpts from a WSJ article reviewing older data suggesting that children of older fathers may be more prone to a variety of problems:
As women increasingly pursue careers and take advantage of fertility treatments to postpone childbirth into their 30s and 40s, they do place their offspring at risk for countless disorders and diseases. This occurs, however, not because of the woman's age but because women in their 30s... tend to couple off with older men...

Older fathers made headlines several years ago when researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reported that a man over 40 is almost six times as likely as a man under 30 to father an autistic child. Since then, research has shown that a man's chances of fathering offspring with schizophrenia double when he hits 40 and triple at age 50. The incidence of bipolarity, epilepsy, prostate cancer and breast cancer also increases in children born to men approaching 40. Both dwarfism and Marfan syndrome (a disorder of the connective tissue) have been linked to older fathers...

Women are born with somewhere between one million and two million eggs, 75% of which are depleted by puberty. Eggs die daily—which may sound bleak—but those that endure contain an original genetic component that was created at the very start of a woman's life.

Sperm, by contrast, are more fly-by-night. After each ejaculation, a man regenerates millions of new sperm cells, and with each cellular replication, the chances rise of an error in genetic coding...
More at the Wall Street Journal link.


  1. So, are you saying it isn't all the fault of Big Pharma and poison vaccines? ;)

  2. o k , my fater was in his mid 60's and i am now in my mid 50s and suffer no ill affects, nor do my 3 sisters

  3. Anonymous, increased risk, doesn't mean a guaranteed, or even a likely chance of developing one of these illnesses. It does imply that if more older men have children the rates of these illnesses will go up in society.

  4. I was born with asperger's syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum of disorders, and was conceived when my father was 38.

    My siblings are both neurotypical, 5 and 7 years older than me, respectively.

    There's some anecdotal evidence, i suppose.

  5. On the up-side, children of older fathers get (again on average) more mature and stable dads. At least, it looks that way to me watching the antics of the younger fathers round here.
    Our daughter's great grandfather fought in the Boer War. Children in her class have great grandparents who were in nappies during the Korean War.


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