What role does aged fatherhood play in pregnancies over age 35?

Along with statistics indicating an increase in older women giving birth, there is also a 40 percent increase of men fathering after the age of 35 and 40. The father's age can also impact the conception, pregnancy and birth of a woman aged over 35.

Statistics show that approximately 63 percent of babies in the UK are fathered by men aged 30 and over. The average age of UK fathers is 32 and no limits are placed on their fathering even though their health and chromosomes contribute to the developing embryo and foetus.

Research suggests that fathering later in life poses risks to the developing baby and expectant mother. For this reason, many fertility clinics do not accept sperm donations from men aged 39 and over. The fathering risks of men aged over 40 may include:

Risks in conception

  • Lower sperm count or fertility over age 40 which lowers female ability to conceive

Risks in pregnancy

  • Defragmented DNA leading to chromosomal abnormality
  • Higher counts of female miscarriage

Risks in birth

  • Lower Apgar score that measures the health of the newborn (i.e. the baby is not as healthy)
  • Increased genetic disorders, such as Down Syndrome
  • Increased Autism, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar
  • Rare birth disorders, such as Dwarfism, achondroplasia, and Apert syndrome
  • Increased pre-term birth

Risks after birth

  • Lack of tolerance in children's activities
  • Less affection to their partner

  • Although fathers aged 40 and over also contribute risks to conception, pregnancy and birth, there are many benefits to aged fatherhood that include:
    • more likely to take responsibility for a younger child
    • higher acceptance of the pregnancy and fatherhood due to exercise of choice
    • enjoyment of fathering a child later in life and good nurturing qualities

    While perceptions about aged pregnancy are usually aimed at women aged 35 and over, less consideration appears to be given to their partners who may also be aged 35 and over and their contribution to the pregnancy and birth.

    Having a baby after 35:

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