PARENTS

The Age Of First-Time Fathers Is Creeping Up, And That Might Be Great

Dear old dad, indeed.

09/01/2017 13:04 EDT | Updated 09/04/2017 22:04 EDT

There's plenty of research done on the age of women when they become mothers for the first time, and how that number has been rising for the past few decades.

Of course, looking at that information makes some sense — women are the ones who carry the child, and their age at the child's conception can make a difference in many respects. But since women are only half of the genetic equation, it's about time we got the numbers on the men too, don't you think?

A new study in Human Reproduction journal conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine looked specifically at how first-time dads' ages have changed from 1972 to 2015 in the U.S., and to no one's surprise, they have risen a fair bit.

According to the research, which analyzed more than 168,000,000 births, the mean paternal age has increased from 27.4 to 30.9 since four decades ago. The percentage of first-time fathers who are older than 40 is now nine per cent, while almost one per cent are older than 50.

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And according to plenty of researchers who look at how parents influence their kids, this could be a good thing.

As Dr. Irina Milentijevic, a psychologist who works specifically with mothers, noted in a blog post, people who have children at an older age are often more financially and emotionally secure than younger parents.

A study earlier this year even found that sons of older dads were more likely to demonstrate "geeky" traits, like not caring what others thought of them, focusing on their own particular interests and excelling in exams, especially in science and math.

Steve Debenport

It likely helps that, as the study found, there's a correlation between years of education and paternal age — the more years of school, the older fathers were likely to be. Men were also more likely to live with their kids and be involved in child-rearing if they had children at a more advanced age.

Now, let's get one thing straight — there are plenty of risks to men being older when they become dads, just like there are for moms. As urology professor Michael Eisenberg, the senior author on the study, notes in a press release, "[There] are associations between older fatherhood and higher rates of autism, schizophrenia, chromosomal abnormalities, some pediatric cancers and certain rare genetic conditions."

The older a man is when he becomes a father, the fewer children he'll have over his lifetime, and therefore, the smaller the next generation of workers will be.

He also pointed out that the older a man is when he becomes a father, the fewer children he'll have over his lifetime, and therefore, the smaller the next generation of workers will be.

But since the trend in parental age is moving up, and doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon, it only makes sense to focus on how this is beneficial for the kids of today. And it seems to us that there's plenty to be said for it.

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