edit: removed "mother's age", since they do account for that
> "“Studies have shown that advanced paternal age is associated with negative health behaviours such as smoking and frequent alcohol consumption, obesity, chronic disease, mental illness, and sub-fertility,”."
> But Eisenberg stressed that the increased risks for individuals were small. After adjusting for the mother’s age and other factors such as education and whether she smoked, he found that children born to men aged 45 and over were born less than a day earlier on average, and weighed only 20g lighter (just over half an ounce) than those with younger fathers.
It seems like there's a lot more data there that could be interesting showing how education, smoking, and age interact, but all we're not getting that out of this article.
So that leads me to wonder, what agenda does this website have by publishing this clickbait title?
"After adjustment for maternal age, infants born to fathers aged 45 years or older had 14% higher odds of premature birth (odds ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.15), independent of gestational age, and 18% higher odds of seizures (1.18, 0.97 to 1.44) compared with infants of fathers aged 25 to 34 years. "
That's why, in fairness to HN user wufufufu, we should point out that they do NOT control for the age of the female. They only say that the male in the reproductive couple was aged X. (No indication as to the health of the female either.)
In general, when a wholly biological effect is observed in human study populations, without reference to a preceding controlled study on, say, mice, your antennae go up. Now in the private sector, that means that the people I worked for would adjust or shuffle resources to account for the likelihood of partners or customers bringing successful legal actions. (Or, perhaps, cancel projects altogether.) But here all it means is that you probably can go ahead and have kids if you are thinking about it and are already over 35.
Humans, (and several other animals), have been doing this for millennia. It's very likely not older people having kids that will eradicate us. (Or even lead to our decline, to be perfectly frank.)
The article is so poorly written that one can't tell whether they controlled for it or not.
The first, second and third paragraphs all list increased health problems or indicators of health problems without mentioning whether they control for the mother's age. The fifth paragraph gives some more figures (born a day earlier, weigh 20g less) which don't contradict the other paragraphs, and explicitly mentions controlling for the mother's age.
If they didn't control for the mother's age (a huge effect and hugely correlated with the father's age) the study should never have been published or reported on. If they did control for it and found such insignificant differences, it should have been published, but not reported on. For my faith in research, I'm left hoping they did find some large effects after controlling for the mother's age but the Guardian has failed to communicate that.
I can't think of any reason other than spite for a woman to wish birth defects and fertility problems on men she's never met, just for the crime of waiting longer to start a family.
Life isn't fair to men and women in this case. We don't make it fair by hurting men, we do it by helping women.
Contrarian positions will always attract clicks. Their agenda is eyeballs.
The obvious factor is increased wealth - this tends to be backloaded, thus there is a benefit from greater available income to spend on a child, whether this is in the form of better nutrition, better education, greater parental availability (not universally going to increase with age, but the option is more easily there for a well off father vs a father just making ends meet)
Other factors may be less clear, less universal and probably not so widely agreed: things such as an older father potentially having a child with fewer siblings or being more settled (in a maturity sense).
And finally, it would be interesting to look at this in a two generation scale: what of children born to young fathers but where those fathers themselves had older fathers? Is the effect passed on or does it get reset?
So I can confirm that in at least some cases there are benefits to having an older father. I have no doubt that there are drawbacks also. One of the obvious ones is that on average you will have your father in your life for much less time.
If you're going to have children later in life, man or woman, make sure you've been looking after your health and continue to do so. Young persons can take much more abuse and remain healthy, older ones can't.
These are key details, and weren't mentioned until the end. In other words, age could be too general in that it's acting as a proxy for other known negatives.
Additionally cryopreservation itself can cause sperm damage (during initial freezing), which while often inconsequential for people e.g. undergoing cancer treatment or who would otherwise find themselves infertile before finding a partner, should be weighed if you're opting to forgo kids and view cryopreservation as a mitigation for age-based sperm damage.
If you have the opportunity and ability to have kids before 45 then it is safest just to do so. Freezing and waiting because it is inconvenient isn't a risk free venture.
This will all be moot in 5-10 years when technology is commercially available to generate reproductive tissue from adult cells .
Relative to what?
> here is a report of an embryo frozen for 25 years that was successfully used to bring a fetus to term
Loss of viability is only one metric by which damage can be measured. Something can be viable but the damage causes a less healthy child, just like age based DNA damage.
Plus the embryo's age is a mislead showcase. Correctly stored embryos can last almost indefinitely (atmospheric radiation damage being the only limiter). The risks from cryopreservation is primary during the freezing process.
Relative to not having the ability to reproduce at all in the future, or at an unknown diminished capacity. I'm not sure where your fearmongering is coming from, the science is proven that banking male reproductive tissue is safe for the donor and effective for bringing a fetus to term in the future when paired with a healthy egg.
Ten years ago studies were done on young adults with cancer banking semen for future fertility use , and the success rate was 30% with IUI and 50% with IVF. Those odds are even better today with improved clinical cryopreservation methods (vitrification has shown success rates upwards of 90-98%).
That isn't what we're discussing. We're discussing opting to delay reproduction and using an imperfect means to do so. You're trying to conflate it with e.g. cancer victims or those who are losing their fertility, which wasn't your original proposition at all.
When there is no alternative it is a huge improvement, when you're opting into it for no great reason, you have to examine the costs more closely. You've stumbled into contrasting age based DNA damage with Cryopreservation's damage.
> I'm not sure where your fearmongering is coming from
Science. The scientific literature has been clear on the DNA damage sustained during the freezing process for tens of years: