Men who delay starting a family have a ticking “biological clock” — just like women — that may affect the health of their partners and children. Children were found to have an increased likelihood of childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism

Men who delay starting a family have a ticking

  • Men who delay starting a family have a ticking “Biological clock” – just like women – that may affect the health of their partners and children, according to Rutgers researchers.
  • “While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realize their advanced age can have a similar impact,” said study author Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
  • The study found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put their partners at risk for increased pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth.
  • Infants born to older fathers were found to be at higher risk of premature birth, late still birth, low Apgar scores, low birth weight, higher incidence of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate.
  • “In addition to advancing paternal age being associated with an increased risk of male infertility, there appears to be other adverse changes that may occur to the sperm with aging. For example, just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose ‘fitness’ over the life cycle,” she said.
  • “Although it is well documented that children of older fathers are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia – one in 141 infants with fathers under 25 versus one in 47 with fathers over 50 – the reason is not well understood,” she said.
  • Co-authors of the study are Nancy Phillips, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Leahannah Taylor, a graduate student at Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.