Genetic mutations transferred from sperm might raise the chances for a child to have mental disorders like autism or schizophrenia. CEO of deCode and genome researcher Dr. Kari Stefannson announced some startling finds from his in-depth analysis of 78 Icelandic families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported some of these on their website. "The study found that every year a man ages, he is predicted to pass on more than two additional new (or "de novo") mutations. More than 97 percent of these new mutations in children were explained by having an older dad."
Dr. Stefannson's study, which was published in the scientific journal Nature, describes the research parameters in detail. The families studied included children who had either an autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia. The article notes, "The team found that the number of new mutations was strongly associated with the age of the father, whereas the relationship between mutation rate and maternal age was not statistically significant." The BBC reports, "The results indicate that a father aged 20 passes, on average, approximately 25 mutations, while a 40-year-old father passes on about 65. The study suggests that for every year a man delays fatherhood, they risk passing two more mutations on to their child."
Scientists have long believed that autism was a genetic disease but weren't sure as to the cause of or the triggers for this disorder. Many celebrities including Jenny McCarthy and Donald Trump have blamed various vaccinations for autism but the science has not backed up these theories.
Parents considering having children won't have just one biological clock to consider but two. Like women, a man's genetic contributions begin to diminish in his mid-30s. If you're thinking about delaying having a baby, take your partner's age into consideration first.