A decade of data documenting live births in the United States links babies of older fathers with a variety of increased risks at birth, including low birth weight and seizures, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The data even suggest that the age of the father can sway the health of the mother during pregnancy, specifically her risk for developing diabetes.
“We tend to look at maternal factors in evaluating associated birth risks, but this study shows that having a healthy baby is a team sport, and the father’s age contributes to the baby’s health, too,” said Michael Eisenberg, MD, associate professor of urology.
Data from more than 40 million births showed that babies born to fathers of an “advanced paternal age,” which roughly equates to older than 35, were at a higher risk for adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, seizures and need for ventilation immediately after birth. Generally speaking, the older a father’s age, the greater the risk. For example, men who were 45 or older were 14 percent more likely to have a child born prematurely, and men 50 or older were 28 percent more likely to have a child that required admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.