Babies born to dads of older age have been linked to a higher risk of health problems at birth, according to a recent study by Stanford University.
The study showed that babies born to fathers of “advanced paternal age”, which roughly equates to men older than 35, may suffer low birth weight and seizures.
Data for the research was drawn from 4o million births, based on the fathers’ age — younger than 25; 25 to 34; 35 to 44; 45 to 55; and older than 55.
The results showed that once a dad clocks age 35, there is a slight increase in birth risks overall, and the older a father’s age, the greater the risks.
The study, however, said the problems are slight.
It explained that men who are 45 or older are 14 percent more likely to have a child born prematurely, while men that are 50 or older are 28 percent more likely to have a child that requires admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.
With every year that a man ages, he accumulates on average two new mutations in the DNA of his sperm, it said.
The study also suggested that the age of the father can sway the health of the mother during pregnancy, specifically her risk for developing diabetes.
It also said the risk of gestational diabetes for pregnant women also increases in line with the age of the father.
According to the researchers, women carrying the child of a man aged 55 years or older have a 34 percent higher odds of gestational diabetes.
They noted that this was an observational but not a cause-and-effect study and the overall absolute risks of these outcomes still remained low, so fathers don’t have to change their original life plan.
The research, published in the journal BMJ, emphasised the importance of including men in preconception care.