6/1/14

Advanced Paternal Age Increases the risk for Autism, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, And Still Birth...

A few weeks ago when I received an email from one of my editors with an article assignment, I couldn't wait to see what it was! To my surprise, I was being asked to write about the effect a man's age has on his fertility. I thought, OK. Sure, I can write about that.  I have written about Advanced Maternal Age on the blog, why not see what Advanced Paternal Age was all about? You all... I never imagined what I would find would be so devastating...

To get a jump on my article, I immediately started reading the available various aspects  research, and found a specialist to work with through a website that hooks up writers and experts. I hit gold when, Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital, agreed to work with me. Dr. Natan Bar-Chama has done multiple studies on various aspects of male fertility over the years, and is considered a leading expert in his field. I sent him a few questions and got information back that was shocking!

He told me things like:


"The sperm producing process called spermatogenesis is so extensive and ongoing that over time it begins to show cracks in the machinery, resulting in errors in the genetic code." 

"There are some conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectral disorder and neurocognitive impairment which are at increased relative risk associated with aging."

SAY WHAT????  An older man's sperm can cause Autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectral disorder and neurocognitive impairment, just from age, and no other genetic contributors? 

Nope. No. No way! 

Say it ain't sooooo.....

Refusing to want to believe this information, no offense to the great doctor, I went looking for more research. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that said his research was off. In fact, it was spot on. During my search through medical journals, "Papers," and published full blown studies of 85,000 men, the supporting evidence that advanced paternal age had a huge impact on conception and birth defects was endless...  

It turns out that as a man ages, his sperm takes on DNA mutations that cause these birth defects... Along with the increased risk for still birth and prolonged time for conception, up to two-years in some cases! The studies show the DNA mutations in sperm and difficulty with conception for starts as early as thirty-five!  According to researchers at The University of Newcastle: "The amount of DNA damage in sperm of men aged 36 to 57 is three times that of men younger than 35 years."  You all, shit. I just couldn't believe it! I thought a man could knock out healthy kids until the day he died.  

Fun Fact: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, The oldest man to father a child was,  Les Colley (1898 - 1998, Australia), who had his ninth child, a son named Oswald, to his third wife at the age of 92 years 10 months.  

Fearful the increase in Autism cases was a direct reflection of these findings, I dared down that road of research.  Thankfully, older dads are not to blame for the increase in diagnose Autism cases, genetics are. 

As I continued with my article, it was clear that the research was there, Advanced Paternal Age Increases the risk for Autism, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Still Birth, and increased Time To Pregnancy (TTP).  Thankfully, I was also able to find enough specialist and doctors to agree that, even though the research is there, much more research needs to be done before men over the age of 35 start throwing in the daddy towel.  

To read my complete article on Parenting.com, and find out how the genetic mutations in sperm happen, CLICK HERE





In addition to being the founder of First Time Mom and Dad, April is an award-winning published writer. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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