Following the same trend as women, men are also waiting to become fathers later on in life. For the first time, scientists at Stanford University analyzed the biggest database of all life births – the National Vital Statistics System – to find out the age of American fathers. A total of 168,867,480 children were born between 1972 and 2015 in the country. The average age of fathers grew 3½ years, from 27.4 to 30.9 years, on average.
The analysis shows a few variations related to origin and level of schooling. American citizens born in Asia, especially in Japan, become parents even later, at age 36. The average age for having a first child increased to 33.3 years among the group of men with a college degree. The number of fathers who decided to have children in their 40s doubled (from 4.1% to 8.9%) and in their 50s (from 0.5% to 0.9%). The same trend is observed in other countries.
Problems. Published on August 30, 2017 in Oxford University’s Human Reproduction website, the study makes several alerts. The steadily advancing age of newborns’ fathers is likely to carry public-health implications,” says Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology. The rising paternal age can affect the total number of children a man will have. There are risks too. According to him, every potential dad acquires an average of two new mutations in his sperm each year. “There are associations between older fatherhood and higher rates of autism, schizophrenia, chromosomal abnormalities, some pediatric cancers and certain rare genetic conditions.” Eisenberg conducted the study in partnership with Yash Khandwala, a medical student at the University of California San Diego.
The positive side. “On the other hand,” he observed, “older fathers are more likely to have better jobs and more resources; more likely to have reasonable stable lifestyles and more likely to live with their children and, thus, be more involved in child-rearing, not leaving this task solely up to mothers.” Click here for the full article.