Posts Tagged ‘dad’

Aging sperm may impact offspring’s cognitive skills

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

thinkingA new study out of the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia suggests there may be a subtle decline in cognitive skills (intellectual activity as opposed to emotional response) among children whose fathers were near the age of 50 or older at the time of conception. 

A review of over 33,000 children was undertaken at ages 8 months, 4 years and 7 years.  Regardless of the mother’s age at conception, children whose fathers were 50 or older had slightly lower scores on all tests (concentration, memory, thinking, reasoning, reading, as well as motor tests).  The findings were broadly consistent at all three ages.  In contrast, advanced age of the mother was generally associated with better scores, using the same measures.

Other studies have suggested an association between paternal age and both autism and schizophrenia.  A large Swedish study at the Karolinska Institute (published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Sept. 2008) studied Swedish national registries for cases of bipolar disorder.  They found, although small, a statistically increased risk of bipolar disorder in offspring as the fathers aged. (Findings applied to adult offspring only, not children.) The authors offered a possible biological explanation. Unlike women who are born with a complete supply of eggs that do not replicate, men are constantly replicating sperm.  The older a man is, the more often his sperm cells have replicated, and the more replications, the greater the chance for random DNA copying errors to occur.  While this is one interesting study, it is important to note that bipolar disorder is rare in any age group and that in the overall population, the vast majority of children of fathers of any age will not get bipolar disorder.

These are only two studies and much further research needs to be done to confirm any of these findings.

Partnering with the future dad

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

pregnant-coupleBecoming a dad can be exciting and confusing.  Both of you will be going through new territory when you’re pregnant.  Ask your partner to go with you to your prenatal care visits when the time comes.  It will help him learn a lot and will help the two of you, and your health care provider, become a strong team.

If he seems a bit shy about this, let him know that during the prenatal visit at the end of the first trimester, he will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  Way cool!  During the second trimester, you probably will have an ultrasound test to take a look at the baby.  You’ll both be able to see your baby’s head, arms, hands, legs and feet.  Hello in there!  You might even find out the sex of the baby if you want to. In the third trimester, he will be able to help formulate a plan with you and your health care provider about the best way he can help during labor and delivery.

Talk about it now.  Get him involved from the get go.

Getting (him) healthy before pregnancy

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

 While it’s true you’re the one who gives birth, the father will be the most important man in your baby’s life. Don’t forget to help Dad get healthy, too! To improve your chances of getting pregnant, it’s important for your partner to take care of himself, exercise, eat right and stop smoking, drinking or taking illegal drugs.

Men, pregnancy and the biological clock

Monday, July 7th, 2008

According to the BBC, a new study from France provides further evidence that it’s harder for a man to make a woman pregnant as he gets older.  Researchers found that the chance of a successful pregnancy declined after a man turned 35.  Other studies have found that 40 is the age at which fertility begins to be much lower for men.

To learn more about how you and your partner can get ready for a healthy pregnancy, see Before You’re Pregnant on the March of Dimes Web site.