Men can continue to reproduce late in life with little or no risk to themselves, but being an older dad could have serious repercussions for the child. A new study has found that older fathers are more likely to have children with autism or schizophrenia because of gene mutations.
It's not a reason not to sire a kid later in life — a guy in his 40s has a 2 per cent chance of having a kid with one of these disorders. But the study does point out that the recent autism boom has something to do with the rising average age of fathers. In fact, they could account for as much as 30 per cent of all cases.
The study, published in Nature, showed no such correlation for older mothers and even debunks the myth that older mums bear most of the responsibility for complications. However, older mums still have other concerns, including increased risk of having a child with Downs Syndrome. In short, having a kid in your 40s might not mean being the oldest dad at graduation, but it does open your offspring up to a host of potential developmental issues. [New York Times]