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Father's age linked to child health problems

27th February 2014

Swedish and US institutes have studied the correlation of sperm mutations and the age of the father.

sperm

Sperm mutations are linked to an increased chance of children having mental health issues.

They found the age of the father posed an incremental risk of sperm mutation.

The investigation of 2.6 million people found that when comparing children of a 24-year-old father against a 45-year-old dad:

  • autism was more than three times as likely
  • a 13-fold increased risk of ADHD
  • double the risk of a psychotic disorder
  • 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder
  • 2.5 times more likely to have suicidal behaviour or problems with drugs
  • lower scores at school

Although the risk was greater, it still remained very low and Dr James MacCabe, senior lecturer in psychosis at the Institute of Psychiatry said: "I would make the point very strongly that men should not decide on whether or when to have children on a single study, or cumulative studies."

He also added that older dads bring many advantages, such as more stable relationships and higher income, which "probably outweigh" any risks.


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