An article in Time magazine this week had a title that was bound to catch my eye – “Too Old to be a Dad?” As a 59-year-old single guy who loves large families, I have always thought, “Never say never,” but the article succinctly suggests, “The biological clock, science has found, ticks for both sexes.”
The science reported in the article has three sources:
- An April 2012 study in Nature found older fathers are more likely to sire autistic kids.
- A May 2012 study in American Journal of Men’s Health linked a father’s age to preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
- An August 2012 study in Nature found old fathers have a significantly increased risk of producing kids with autism or schizophrenia.
This information is becoming more relevant because, as the article points out, men in America and around the world are, for a variety of reason, becoming older when they have their kids.
The article makes two major points, one of which I agree with and the other I don’t. I agree that both sexes, not just the women, should be cognizant of the fact that increased age results in increased health risks for the child.
I disagree, however, with the following thinking, as expressed by a medical clinician:
- “Even if you’re Paul McCartney’s child, you get ripped off if your father dies when you’re in your early 20s.”
That reminds me of the self-absorbed, liberal do-gooder who declares that today’s world is so evil that he doesn’t want to bring a child into it. What do you think the to-be child would say about that? What do you think Paul McCartney’s actual child would say about that?
Incidentally, the article, which does an excellent job in describing some practical pros and cons to being an older parent, listed the following older parents in addition to McCartney, who was 61 when his youngest was born – Clint Eastwood (66), Steve Martin (67), Rod Stewart (68), Tony Randall (78), and Rupert Murdoch (72).