Hadley Finch’s Comments: ABC TV News revealed that Mel Gibson may have fathered his 9th child, while he was dating a 2010 reality TV star Laura Bellizzi, who is now pregnant. The rumor has not been confirmed, yet the TV reporter concludes, “Mel Gibson may be hateful but fertile.” See the story on ABC
While media wonders if Mel’s baby rumors are true, they are missing a bigger issue. Medical researchers have discovered that men over 35 who father children are risking that their offspring will inherit genetic abnormalities which can occur as men age. Today’s 50 may be yesterday’s 30 in some aspects of aging, but medical studies reveal this isn’t true for a 50 year old’s sperm.
Researchers have discovered abundant scientific evidence that men have a biological clock, which commonly refers to the declining fertility, increasing risk for fetal birth defects, and altered hormone levels experienced by women as they age.
What are some risks of fathering a child in mid-life?
A team of UK and US researchers recently reported that children born to men over 40 had a six times higher risk of autism than those born to men under 30.
Other studies have linked older fathers to an increased risk of miscarriages, and to children with bipolar disorder and the rare birth disorders like dwarfism.
Researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons found that men older than 40 were more than twice as likely to have a child who develops schizophrenia as men in their 20’s.
Why is older fatherhood a new cause for concern?
The theory linking paternal age with an offspring’s health rests on spontaneous mutations in the genes of a man’s sperm cells as he ages. New studies refute the earlier theory that men could father children into their old age with no ill effects.
What is the ideal age for men to father children?
To minimize genetic abnormalities, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has set an upper age limit of 40 years old for semen donors, while UK fertility clinics only accept sperm donations from men aged 39 and under.
Studies suggest that to minimize the risk of autism, the paternal age should be under 32.
Should a young woman date a father figure if she wants to have a baby?
A young woman who desires children may be less likely to date a father figure, unless he agrees to use a sperm donor if they decide to have children after his 50th birthday. Or she may simply prefer to date men under age 35 to increase the odds of having healthy babies with a mate closer to her age.
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