Does He Have a Biological Clock, Too? Study Says Tick Tock

New research states that older men may run the risk of fathering children with learning and emotional problems

For years, females have been taunted by medical professionals — not to mention society — reminding them that their biological clock is ticking. Well, now it’s the guys’ turn.

According to a study published in the most recent issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry, men who father children at 45 or older have a higher risk of having a child who will suffer from psychiatric and academic problems.

Researchers from Indiana University analyzed the data of more than 2.6 million children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001, and took note of the mental health issues in kids born to younger and older fathers. The children who were conceived by fathers over the age 45 were 3.5 times more likely to develop autism, 13 times more likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 24 times more likely to develop bipolar disorder compared to the children whose daddies were between 20 to 24 years old.

It’s not over — the children with older fathers were also at a higher risk for psychosis, suicide attempts, substance abuse, failing grades in school and low educational attainment.

"We are not saying that every child born to an older father is going to have these problems," study researcher Brian D'Onofrio, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University, told LiveScience. "But this study adds to a growing body of research that shows that advancing age is linked to some rare but serious problems. Moreover, our study suggests that this increased risk is, in fact, larger than previous estimates."

While women have to worry about losing their eggs as the minutes progress, men are continuously producing sperm, so scientists believe the older the man, the more likely his sperm with have genetic mutations.

This study reminds me of the saying, “Forewarned is forearmed.” But on the flip side, sometimes news like this can make people panic. Many times in life, we don't get to choose the “ideal age” to have a child — the time chooses us. So while the clock on your smart phone may be timed to the exact second of the official world time, the clock in your body tends to work by your own individual dial.

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