Influence of a man’s age on a child’s health
The fact that a woman’s age affects the future baby, the risk of developing pathologies in him, is known to many: when a pregnant woman is older than 35 years old, the probability of mutations in the fetus increases. But it turns out that the age of the father also matters for the health of the child.
Probability of conception
Men, unlike women, can become fathers at any age – their sperm production does not stop over the years. But sperm quality is getting worse. Sperm motility is reduced, making it harder for them to reach the egg. Their endurance decreases, and the sperm does not manage to penetrate through the membrane of the egg. In addition, the muscles of the perineum become weaker and do not provide the necessary contractions of the penis.
All this leads to the fact that the possibility of conception is significantly reduced. So, for a man of 45 years, the chances of having a baby are three times lower than for a 35-year-old. In addition, women conceived from a mature man have an increased risk of pregnancy complications and miscarriages.
Fetal pathology risk
The most unpleasant thing is that mutations accumulate in sperm DNA in adulthood, and age fathers can transmit various genetically related diseases to the child, such as Marfan’s disease (connective tissue pathology), Aper’s syndrome (bone formation disorder), Recklinghausen’s disease (the occurrence of neurofibromas and damage skin), polycystic kidney disease.
The risk of developing genetic diseases in a baby with an “age” father increases by 20%.
There is an opinion in the scientific literature that there is a relationship between the mature age of a man and the future development of schizophrenia in a child. But most researchers do not support this hypothesis, believing that a similar risk exists if the disease was in the family. In other cases, at any age of the father, the probability of such a diagnosis does not exceed 1%.
Does this mean that the younger the man, the higher the likelihood that the baby will be born healthy? It turned out that everything is not so simple.
Scientists have found that young fathers under the age of 18 are more likely to have gene mutations than even older men. It’s about the puberty of young men. During puberty, the sperm of boys, or rather their DNA, contain a large number of mutations – one third more than the DNA of germ cells of men aged. And only a few years after the end of the puberty, the male reproductive system begins to produce mostly normal sperm. For comparison: teenage girls have much less such mutations.
Doctors found that it is the children of young fathers who are more often born with various immune pathologies and generally have poorer health.
The optimal age of paternity
The reproductive system works best for men aged 20 to 38 years: during these years, it produces normal sperm and the number of mutations in them is minimal. Accordingly, children of such fathers have the lowest risk of congenital pathologies. Interestingly, children of young fathers were more susceptible to various genetic abnormalities than even children of age-related parents.
As for very young people, they certainly should not rush into the birth of a child. Their body is still not quite ready for this. In addition, the boys who have just stepped over the teenage period, in the overwhelming majority of cases, have not psychologically matured until paternity – after all, the child must be taken care of, educated, which requires a lot of mental energy and time.
If we talk about a man after 45-50, then he may well become the father of a healthy baby. Just before conception, you need to undergo a complete genetic examination together with the expectant mother, do a sperm analysis to make sure that there is no risk of having a sick child. Moreover, people who have crossed the 40-year-old threshold, approach the desire to have a baby more consciously, which means that they will pay more attention and care to the baby.
By the way, there is an opinion that geniuses are born precisely from age parents.