While men have always (supposedly) been able to gallivant into middle age before they need to start thinking about having kids (for the sake of being able to keep up with them once they’re born more than anything else), women have always faced a certain pressure to have kids, if they are going to, sooner rather than later.
However, new research has just come out suggesting the ‘biological clock’ phenomenon is true for men as well as women.
The study, published in the European Menopause Journal MATURITAS, suggests that men having a baby over the age of 45 put their partner (regardless of their age) at an increased risk of antenatal complications and adverse birth outcomes, and the child at a heightened risk of cancer and psychological disorders.
To determine this, researchers reviewed 40 years of scientific literature and data on how parental age affects fertility, pregnancy, and a child’s well-being over time.
Prominent findings included the increased risk of gestational diabetes and premature birth for infants born to older fathers, as well as lower scores on the Apgar test (a basic examination used to assess a baby’s overall health), and an elevated risk for childhood cancer, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism later in life.
The researchers say this is a result of the natural process of aging, however—as always—more research is needed to clarify exactly how and why it happens (and to come up with better tests that tell men how healthy their sperm really is).
But before you go starting a college fund—this doesn’t mean you have to have kids before you’re 45, with the researchers’ “key counselling point” being the suggestion of “sperm banking” for midlife and older men considering paternity.