New Fathers Are Older Than Ever

Fatherhood After 40 Is Far More Common These Days But Could Be Risky Says New Study

Fatherhood After 40 Is Far More Common These Days But Could Be Risky Says New Study

Men over 40 now account for nine percent of United States births and men over 50 account for almost one percent. Men over the age of 50 account for almost one per cent.

This study from the Stanford researchers is the first comprehensive look at all the live births that have been reported to a federal data depository in the United States between 1972 and 2015. The researchers acquired the data from the National Vital Statistics System, a data-sharing program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, published in Human Reproduction, was led by Stanford urologist and big-data cruncher Michael Eisenberg, MD. New research has found that the average age of newborns' fathers in the USA has grown by 3.5 years over the past four decades.

Asian-American dads, particularly Japanese and Vietnamese-American dads, were on average the oldest at close to 36 years.

The research showed that paternal age rose with more years of education.

New fathers in the United States are getting older.

A similar trend of increasing paternal age has been seen in other countries, including England and Germany.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine warn that a man's fertility declines with age so men should think twice before postponing fatherhood. Meaning, an increasing paternal age can affect the total number of children a father will have, thus affecting the demographics of the population. Indeed, previous studies have found "associations between older fatherhood and higher rates of autism, schizophrenia, chromosomal abnormalities, some pediatric cancers and certain rare genetic conditions" in children, Eisenberg said.

The researchers called for more studies on the health and social implications of older fathers.

The advance in paternal age is a double-edged phenomenon, Eisenberg told me. "The result is that the average age difference between moms and dads has been shrinking, from 2.7 years in 1972 to 2.3 years in 2015".

These patterns are seen in all racial, regional, age and education categories.

Two factors that have changed since 1972 is that contraception is more available and reliable these days and women are more integrated in the workforce.

"This may be a outcome of women waiting longer to get married or putting off childbearing as the years they spend in higher education increase and as careers become more central to their lives", said Eisenberg, according to EurekAlert.

But the world-record holder, Eisenberg said, is a gentleman from India who early in this decade fathered two children at the age of 94 and 96 with a wife who was in her late 50s.

But he said that fewer years for childbearing could cause a reduction in family sizes and cause potential economic ramifications.

"Fewer people being born means fewer productive workers a generation down the road", Eisenberg said. 'This can obviously have profound tax and economic implications'.

While parental-data reporting to the National Vital Statistics System by some states was spotty in the early years of the period under study, it's been running at virtually 100 percent since 1985, at least for mothers, said Eisenberg.

The oldest father recorded during the period reviewed was 88 years old, while the youngest was 11. Eisenberg said that one in every nine live birth had little or no information about the father.

The new study analyzed data from more than 168 million USA births over a four-decade period. Mothers self-report paternal data. Over the past decade, African-American mothers under the age of 20 reported paternal data only half the time.

Overall paternal reporting for USA births has risen to its current 88.4 percent since reaching a nadir of 85.5 percent in 1991.

Results revealed that fathers of newborns who were older than 40 years rose from 4.1 percent to 8.9 percent and those over 50 rose from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent during the assessment period from 1972 to 2015.

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