Study Identifies Potential Link Between Older Fathers and Autistic Children

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We have all heard for years about how the biological clock ticks for women, and that after a certain age that’s much younger than the average man they can no longer have children.  In addition to the ticking of that biological clock, there have also been concerns raised in recent years regarding the health risks faced by children who are born of older mothers. These concerns have been based on the presentation of studies that have shown a tendency in some cases for higher percentages of birth defects and other problems in children whose mothers were older than 40.

Conversely, men have never really had to deal with any of these problems or this type of stress.  It’s long been known that men are fully capable of fathering children late into their own lives, and stories of men having children when they were in their 50’s, 60’s and even their 70’s are not entirely uncommon.  Throughout most of modern medical history, few if any studies were even commissioned that looked at the reproductive health of men later in life and the potential risks that older fathers present.

That has all changed with the recent publishing of a study regarding older men and the children that they father.  Researchers in Iceland have recently released the results of their study that shows that as many as 20 or 30 percent of children who were born there and diagnosed with either autism or schizophrenia had fathers that would have been considered to be of advanced age.  That age was 40 years old or older.

However, when looked at from the opposite perspective, the risk is still seen as relatively low.  Fathers who are over 40 at the time of having children showed a risk factor of 2 percent for having a child with autism.  These numbers still do define a potential trend, though, and the researchers have called for additional studies to be done that take a closer look at what could be happening.  Early theories have already begun to be shared, including one that basically states that male sperm can change as men get older and that this could somehow have an effect on the child.

The bottom line is that, unfortunately, we still do not know all of the causes of autism and we do not know how to avoid it or cure it.  We have learned much in the way of treating it and handling it so that autistic children are more comfortable and they live happier and healthier lives, but we still need to identify actual causes.  Hopefully this study will at least begin to shed some light on what could be happening and that it will lead to the discovery of important information.

We have been protecting the legal rights of families as New York medical malpractice lawyers for 42 years.  We have seen many cases of autism that were caused by a mistake that was made by medical professionals during birth, and we hope that someday we are able to win the fight against this condition.