Recent Study Shows Children Born To Older Fathers Have More Health Problems

While there are plenty of figures that warn about the risks of late childbearing, a study conducted by US researchers and published in the BMJ magazine reveals that the age of the father also has an impact on the baby's health at birth. Results show that children from a father over the age of 45 have more health problems.

What do Charlie Chaplin and Mick Jagger have in common, besides having a British passport? They both became fathers at 73. But the biological health risks of late fatherhood are still there, both for celebrities and regular people, as evidenced by a study that has just been published in the British Medical Journal. Read on to find out more.

14% higher risk of premature birth

Researchers at Stanford University in California, USA analysed the data of more than 40 million births between 2007 and 2016. They took several factors into consideration to better understand the impact that the age of the father could have on on infant health, from gestational age, baby weight at birth to the APGAR index (assessment test to measure the health of a newborn baby based on 5 factors), the number of caesareans, the rate of admission to neonatal care... Scientists have found that children of fathers aged 45 and over have a 14% increased risk of being born prematurely (less than 37 weeks) compared to those born to fathers aged between 25 and 34.

Other risks for babies and mothers

The results from this meta-study also showed that the father's age has an impact on an infant’s weight as well.

Those born to a father between the ages of 45 and 54 have an increased risk of 14% of having a lower weight (an average of 0.7 ounces less) when they are born. These babies are also 14% more likely to be admitted to neonatal care and 18% more likely to have epileptic seizures than those whose fathers are 25 to 34 years old.

In addition, infants whose father is over 55 years old are also at a higher risk of having an Agpar score of less than 8/10.

This impact of the age of the parent does not stop only with the health of the offspring. It also has consequences on that of the mother. Indeed, the study found that women who were expecting a child from a man over 55 years of age have a 34% increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

According to researchers these results could partly be explained by a modification in the sperm DNA of older men.

A French study found that 136,000 children born in 2015, or 17% of all babies born in that year had a father aged 40 or over at birth, and 2% had a father aged 50 or over.

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