MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’ve always heard it’s the mom’s age that can affect the health of a child. But a new study shows if dads wait until their 40s or 50s, their children have an increased risk of autism, ADHD and bipolar disorders.
So, do men have biological clocks, too?
Dr. Phoebe Leonard, an endocrinologist with the University of Minnesota Physicians, says the short answer is yes.
As men age, the quality of sperm and the amount produced both decline.
“We’re finding out that as men age, so does the DNA that’s in their sperm,” she said.
The world’s oldest known new father is a 96-year-old man in India.
But a 30-year new study of dads in Sweden found that the child of a 45-year-old dad was 25 times more likely to have a bipolar disorder, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, and 3.5 times more likely to have autism than the child of a 25-year-old father.
According to Leonard, there’s not an age when men should stop having kids.
“I think that people just need to be aware of the risks that are associated with advancing age and that might make a difference in planning families,” she said.
And when it comes to whether mom’s or dad’s age has the biggest impact on a child, Leonard says it’s still mom’s.
“I would definitely say mom’s age has more of an impact,” she said.
Researchers now consider 45 to be advanced paternal age.
It’s also important to remember that older parents can, and generally have, healthy children.