A number of studies reveal that along with mother, the age of father also play a role in conferring risk for their babies as they get older.
People are becoming parents at a very later age. People start families once they have finished their education and have secured their careers. This trend is being followed over the last few decades.
Couples marry late and start a family even much later. What many people do not realize is that due to this trend, there are implications for the health of the pregnancy, the mother and the babies.
Most women are aware of the reproductive risks involved to themselves and the baby when they get pregnant in old age. Whereas people often tend to neglect the risks a man adds while becoming an older father.
A study done by Hilary K. Brown suggests that not just a women’s advancing age plays a role in health risk factors of a baby and the mother but the paternal age matters just as well.
Another study published in the BMJ reveals that higher paternal age is associated with an increased risk of premature birth, low Apgar score, and low birth weight.
The study found that fathers aged 45 and above had a 14% greater chance of babies being born prematurely, with low birth weight as compared to fathers in their 20s and 30s. The study also revealed that there was a 28% increase in the risk of gestational diabetes in older women.
Fertility and sperm strength plays a role in the ability to father a child. The volume of sperm declines with age which reduces the ability of a man’s sperm to fertilize an egg. Environmental exposures and mutation can also affect the growth factors for both the embryo and the placenta.
It is suggested that awareness is required for both men and women about the risk factors and benefits of having children either now or later. It is also adviced by experts that a healthy lifestyle should be adopted by everyone in order to have a healthy pregnancy and avoid the risk of chronic diseases.